Frank Ocean’s Coachella Set Reassessed Musically After A Week


In these times of media oversaturation, it can be difficult to form an objective opinion about a project featuring Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Drake, or any other similarly earth-shattering artist because there is so much noise around them at the time the project is being made. broadcast – too much “YAAAASSS!” and “BOOOO!” and “MEHHHH!” like trying to avoid giving spoilers about a popular TV show.

For better and for worse – ok, almost entirely worse – a similar noise and much more Frank Ocean’s controversial lead performance at Coachella two weeks ago. This was her first gig in nearly six years—years that saw her releasing a few sometimes great singles, a fashion line, a magazine, and apparently everything, except a sequel to her enthusiastically-received 2016 album “Blonde” and a similar tour. Their short, equally lauded show in the summer of 2017 (filmed by Spike Jonze but probably still drifting somewhere in Frank’s ocean, like many other projects). In addition, cocoellaIt’s arguably the world’s biggest music festival, where Beyonce and Daft Punk have shaped and shaken culture, Ocean has attended many times and even controlled the name in her debut song, “Novacane.”

Anyone who reads this knows how did everything go: The construction and sudden destruction of the ice rink on the stage, the one hour wait before the show that started at 23:00 local time, extremely limited view of the stage, long silences between songs, the DJ set in the middle of the random show and then the sudden end of the set due to the curfew (actually, the curfew had already passed, leading to costly fines). The next narrative, complicated by the fact that the show wasn’t broadcast live and therefore relies on eyewitnesses and crazy fan videos, is “What a rip-off!” and “Who does he think he is?” “Leave Frank Ocean alone!” and come back several times during the week. It got worse as reports of pre-show chaos and indecision dripped, and Ocean’s rep finally Weekend Two sets canceled Apparently due to an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the week (which didn’t stop him from walking or even jumping on stage Sunday night).

In the midst of all this, it’s no surprise that Ocean music is often overlooked, which he admits is “damn chaotic but very entertaining” on stage.

It’s fair to wonder anyone can judge real music performance from an unbiased point of view: Even the most fair-minded fan will have trouble watching an hour-delayed detour after three days on their feet in the Coachella dumpster and look forward to going out for hours. God knows how many hours or days it will arrive at the festival site and then home. Most of us who are not in the field have formed perspectives based on perverted and flawed TikTok videos, which is one of the worst ways to get an opinion on anything.

But in the last few days, a number of pretty well-recorded viewer videos have popped up that get the set rendered relatively accurately. Based on four close listens of two different recordings, it’s fair to say that Ocean’s set was musically much better than most accounts had anticipated, but it’s still a mess – the first half hour in particular featured innovative, sometimes violent reimaginings. Despite the live debuts and confusions of some of his most popular songs and others, the crowd was mostly with him. But in the middle more than 15 minutes of DJ sets and then records Along with two or three of Ocean’s fans’ favorite songs (not the live performances), an unexpected song by Ocean’s friend Josiah lowered the tempo further and caused even more confusion. A rough game based on gameplay is as follows:

For the reasons above, the audience was startled but empowered when Ocean, after an almost full hour delay, took the stage with a tight, almost unrecognizably fast, pop-punk version of his 2012 song “Novacane”. name checks Coachella. It was a hot start, but the 2021 freestyle “Come on World, You Can’t Go!” (“Blonded” premiered on Apple Radio in a nine-minute incarnation in December 2021), in a shortened version.

courtesy of YouTube

Even at the biggest festival performances, it’s often clear what’s going on on stage. But Ocean’s scene was barely visible – not only were there huge video screens on two sides, but another screen suspended above the stage like a giant garage door three-quarters closed – and although the action in the scene was projected onto the screens, there was so much going on. People walking around, so much equipment and so much lighting equipment and video monitors that it was often difficult to understand what was going on.

After another delay, the tempo picks up again with a relatively flat “Crack Rock” before the energy drops again with a backup version of “Bad Religion” featured in “Blonde” that reveals Stevie Wonder in Ocean’s voice. Next up was a drastic remake of “Blonde”‘s “White Ferrari” featuring a buzzing synthesizer hook and a leaky drum machine.

After the song ended, Ocean said, “My life has changed a lot in these last few years,” before mentioning his brother Ryan, who died in a car accident at just 18 in 2020. I feel like I’ve been dragged here most of the time,” she continued, adding that she hated Coachella dust but loved to dance with her brother on a Rae Sremmurd set. I know you’ll be very excited to be here with all of us. I wanted to thank you for your support, ears and love all this time.”

This was followed by two songs from “Blonde”, a gentle version of “Pink + White” with only acoustic guitar accompaniment, followed by another radical reinvention, this time with a slightly darker, more jazzy feel than the album version of “Solo”.

Then things got messy. The DJ set began with a reworked recording of her single “Chanel” – an Ocean apparently without a microphone singing as she walked around the stage – before moving on to a complete DJ set by DJ Crystalmess that included other Ocean songs. As “Born Slippy” from Underworld and “Actin a Smoochie” from Ice Spice.

About 15 minutes later, Ocean said, “It’s chaotic, but it’s so much fun,” before explaining what’s on his mind. “All I have to say about it is [DJ set] it’s like… it’s like you came to see Frank Ocean and got some crazy mix in the middle of the show,” he laughed. or I just really enjoyed meeting crappy DJs, and this new Apple Music show, Homer Radio, and my new weekly thing has become part of my practice. “It’s good that it’s not always about me. And so I wanted to put a little bit of that into it,” she said. finished.

Then came a fast-paced, punked version of “Wiseman”—Ocean’s song that was written but unused for Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 movie “Django Unchained”—but then his friend Josiah came into limelight for an out of place but pleasant place. Willie Nelson’s rendition of “Night Life” (previously voiced by BB King and Aretha Franklin).

When the song was over, Ocean said, “This is Josiah,” and added with a laugh, “He’s playing my inner child today.”

He then played an acoustic version of “Self Control” before the rhythm of “Nikes”, the emotional opening track of “Blonde” kicked in. But even though his drummer and possibly a keyboard player were playing together, Ocean’s vocals were a recording of the auto-tuned album version. The self-imprinting continued throughout the “Nights”.

Finally, he performed the cover of Isley Brothers’ song “(At Your Best) You Are Love”, which was included in Ocean’s “Endless” album. But about a minute after the song ended, Ocean said, “Guys, I was told there was a curfew, so it’s the end of the show – thank you very much.” And at around 12:25 local time, a little less than 90 minutes later, Ocean’s weird headlining was over.

It’s not uncommon for a Coachella headliner set to sound like an obvious rehearsal. While most of the performances were tight, the sequence was clearly not, and it sometimes seemed like Ocean was being vocalized. All of this would be fine in a more intimate setting; The set was often like an ad-free gig where an artist premiered new material—or rather, a one-off starring an even more reclusive R&B star, D’Angelo, in the long gaps between tours. Frank Ocean concerts may be transcendent and we can’t wait to see the next one, but despite all the unfair abuses done to him, but this one wasn’t.

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