A "Lens" into Frank Ocean
On April 25th, Frank Ocean dropped his new song "Lens" on his "blonded RADIO" show. On first listen, the song is striking in that it lacks a strong beat until about halfway through the piece. Ocean instead chooses to sing over a minimalist accompaniment of piano and synthesizer. Another thing that stands out on first listen, his heavy autotune in the beginning of the song makes his words sound robotic and even separated from the reality of the present.
The song itself is an atmospheric and introspective view into his violent rise to mainstream fame, and the history that defines him. He reflects on the past with lines such as "Ain't seen rainbows since college / This thing won't last unless we're both lying," detailing the beauty left behind him, especially with the tumultuous times of the present. Frank Ocean has stated in interviews that he has never been a fan of mainstream media, even going so far to say on his Tumblr:
This song is an acceptance of his fame and an understanding that even if he does not like the media, he loves all his fans and family that are "smiling" down on him through the lens of the media. The song ends with a shoutout to a group of people important to him, namely his grandfather, who Frank has said was the only father figure he had.
Overall, this track hits on some deep issues for Frank while still maintaining a casual, chill musical vibe–give it a listen yourself here.
Feature image from Highsnobiety.