Frank Ocean unexpectedly dropped “Chanel” on Friday night during the second episode of blonded RADIO.
This is the first song Ocean releases since Blonde. The vibes present a stark contrast to his 2016 album, being more reminiscent of channel ORANGE. The two main themes in the song are Frank Ocean’s success and sexuality.
Throughout the song, we are reminded of the hit that was Blonde (I got new money / And it’s all cash / I got new bags / And they all collabs), as well as Ocean’s musical success (“God level, I am the I am”).
In terms of sexuality, Ocean is openly not straight. Whether he is bisexual or gay is vague. The lyrics in “Chanel” seem to indicate the former (“I see both sides like Chanel / See on both sides like Chanel”), although they certainly make no bones about the fact that Ocean is attracted to men (“My guy pretty like a girl”).
Although it was already known that Frank Ocean is not straight, it is incredibly important that such a prominent artist has no problems referencing or alluding to his sexuality in songs. It’s a big leap in an industry (particularly the hip hop section) that is still tackling homophobia.
For the first roughly two minutes of the song, Ocean raps a bit which is something that listeners were left wanting in Blonde. There seems to be a slight trap influence in his delivery and lyrics (even acknowledging 21 Savage’s popularity), but his overall flow remains sublime.
After the 2:00 mark, Frank turns to more soulful singing. The singing will probably be hit or miss for most listeners. Frank has a nice voice, but it could also be argued that it is too stark of a contrast from the beginning of the song.
The beat in “Chanel,” like the production, is simplistic but enjoyable. The drums particularly standout with a fresh funky beat dissimilar to any heard in Blonde.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5