When Frank Ocean released his debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, in February of 2011, it was clear to many that he was about to shake up the music industry. With a sound that was both unique and familiar, Frank Ocean quickly captivated the attention of countless people. Just a little over a year later, he released his first album, Channel Orange and many fans were already ready to dub him a legend. However, after the release of his second album, Blonde, in 2016, Frank has been largely absent from the spotlight. He’s released a couple of singles here and there, but there’s no word on when we’ll get another project from him. For now, we’ll just have to listen to his old stuff, but fortunately, there are plenty of great songs to choose from. Keep reading to see our list of the 10 best Frank Ocean songs of all time.
10. One Look
“One Look” is a track that was included on Frank’s unofficial mixtape, The Lonny Breaux Collection. The songs on this project were written by Frank under the pen name Lonny Breaux. Some of them ended up being given to other artists. On “One Look” Frank sounds much different than the Frank Ocean we’ve all come to be familiar with, but it’s a great example of his versatility and creativity.
“Quickly” is another song from The Lonny Breaux Collection. What we hear on the mixtape is actually a demo version as the song was ultimately given to John Legend and featured on his album Evovler. The final version of the song is a duet that also features Brandy. The song is beautifully written and shows that Frank’s pen game is not to be played with. Unfortunately, however, a complete copy of Frank’s version doesn’t appear to be available on YouTube.
8. Nature Feels
Based on the song “Electric Feel” by MGMT, “Nature Feels” is an uptempo and infectious track. The song opens with Frank singing, “I’ve been meaning to f**k you in the garden/Been breathing so hard, we both could use the oxygen” which lets you know off rip that he isn’t playing around. The raw nature of the song speaks to Frank’s immense creativity as an artist.
7. Forrest Gump
When lots of people heard “Forrest Gump” for the first time, they were so caught up in the fact that Frank appeared to be singing to a man that they ignored the beauty of the song. While it’s clear that Frank is singing about a possible crush, it also appears that the crush may not share the same feelings. However, this doesn’t seem to impact Frank’s overall positive memories of the experience.
6. Super Rich Kids
Frank’s debut album, Channel Orange, was full of gems and “Super Rich Kids” was one of them. Not only does Frank sound amazing, but like many of his songs, this one has a deeper meaning than what we hear on the surface. Sure, being a super-rich kid sounds fun, but in reality, it can be an isolating experience.
5. Thinkin Bout You
“Thinkin Bout You” is easily one of the most popular songs from Channel Orange, and it’s easy to see why. Almost everyone can relate to the feeling of constantly thinking about someone who may not be feeling the same way. The relatability mixed with the beauty of the music is what makes this song great.
4. Acura Integurl
As another song from The Lonny Breaux Collection, “Acura Integurl” is short and sweet. The song boasts a beautiful melody played on the piano combined with Frank’s smooth voice. Like many of his other songs, “Acura Integurl” is about a relationship where there is an element of loneliness involved.
“Novacane” is easily one of the most popular songs from Frank’s debut mixtape. Although it has a very sad quality to it, Frank sings openly about numbing the pain, most likely by doing drugs. Although music often paints love and relationships as beautiful things, Frank often talks about the other side where things are just as painful as they are pleasurable.
Most people would probably agree that a song that lasts for nearly 10 minutes is usually doing too much. However, Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids” is an excellent example of how long songs can work when they’re done right. For nearly 10 minutes, Frank takes listeners on a journey that spans from ancient Egypt all the way to the world of modern-day sex work.
1. Swim Good
“Swim Good” is another song that is about the pain of heartbreak, but it’s all about the liberating feeling that comes with getting over something. In the chorus, Frank sings, “I’m about to drive in the ocean/I’ma try to swim from somethin’ bigger than me/Kick off my shoes/And swim good, and swim good/Take off this suit/And swim good, and swim good”. The song also has a sound that is reminiscent of 808s and Heartbreaks by Kanye West.