New Stuff: Pilot Jones

Frank Ocean is a beautiful man. That’s unquestionable. The only quality about his attractiveness that requires pondering is whether his outer beauty is as striking as his inner beauty.

Up to this point, we knew Ocean was the tenderest member of Los Angeles based OFWGKTA, a ghost writer for some of the biggest pop acts ever, and an unrecognized singer with a well-received debut EP and one of the best penned coming-out letters I’ve ever read. He likes men (that’s important, for some reason, because it got more press than any of his other endeavours combined, possibly as a connection to the lack of openly gay black musicians). More importantly, his debut LP has garnered Stevie Wonder comparisons, and after listening to it a few times through, I can say with confidence that they are well deserved.

A choice cut from Channel ORANGE is “Pilot Jones,” a mezcla of candy shop Stevie pop, early Prince falsetto, and post-808s and Heartbreaks deep synth. Ocean keeps the production simple, wisely allowing a chorus of his own vocal chords to steal the show. The topic matter reflects his own personality (drugs, apathy, burdened infatuation), showing a willingness to stray away from the Clear Channel nonsense that he can so deftly organize. It’s rare that a songwriter chooses to follow his/her own path after verifying his/her talents in a comfortable medium, but it only makes Ocean that much more talented. “Pilot Jones” is a head trip in an album full of deep reflections, and by the time the strings pick up at the end, it’s difficult to imagine how Ocean ever wrote for Lady Gaga.



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