Frank Ocean, the New Orleans born musician, has been making waves with the release of his mixtape “nostalgia, ULTRA.” The mixtape has been making its way through the interwebs, initially with a whisper and steadily grew into a roar.
I finally listened to it on the recommendation of a friend and according to my iTunes play counter I've listened t o it more times than I am willing to admit. Not because of how much I love it, which is obviously a contributing factor, but because I was and continue to attempt to dissect all of the musical influences melted into these 14 tracks (you can download it for free here). I've concluded that Frank Ocean is what would happen if Carlos Santana’s Spanish guitar, and the magic of Led Zeppelin, the teenage angst of Nirvana, raspy melody of John Legend, and the appeal of Drake, Wiz Khalifa all mated on a bed of poetry. The aptly named "nostalgia, ULTRA" takes you on a whirlwind journey back to your childhood and adolescence, before spewing you back out to the reality of your adulthood.
Nostalgia, for me, also references the musical influences -- bringing you to a strangely familiar place-- a place where music made sense, and made you feel. Whatever it is that you feel while you listen to “strawberry swing” or “american wedding” is solely based on your experiences, but there is no denying that you will feel something. Frank Ocean has renewed my faith in musicians. It is safe to say that he represents a shift in the sound of the mainstream - a step away from linear, one dimensional tunes, and a step towards music possessing the depth of an Ocean [pun intended]. It would be foolish of me to define him as anything else but pure music. I can’t wait to hear what other treasures he has in store for our hearts and our ears.
He’s definitely earned my stamp of approval.