Everyone in an active relationship should keep a Frank Ocean album in a glass case next to a hammer, with a sign that says: “IN CASE OF BREAKUP BREAK GLASS.”
Has anyone on earth—or any other planet, really—mastered the art of the breakup album more than Frank Ocean? Spoiler alert: hell no.
Sure, there are other contenders. There’s Drake. There’s Adele. And if you’re a pretentious douchebag, there’s Bon Iver. But none of them can hold a melting candle to Frank’s unrivaled ability to sonically capture human emotions with laser-like precision.
No one makes better breakup albums than Frank Ocean. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact. It's as objectively true as “water is wet” or “Kanye needs medication.”
First, there’s Channel ORANGE, with “Thinkin Bout You” as the curtain-opener exposing Frank’s fractured psyche. Mellow but gut-wrenching, it's arguably the greatest love song of the century behind T-Pain’s "I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper)."
For a lot of us, "Thinkin Bout You" is the mainstream single that caught our attention and made us Frankfurters (a terrible nickname I invented for Frank Ocean fans that I really hope doesn't catch on). But the song was just the worm on the end of the fish hook luring us into the rest of the album, which, of course, only gets better.
"Forrest Gump" is the benevolent ballad about a man Frank still harbors feelings for that continues to run through his mind. The song is so good, in fact, Hollywood named a damn Tom Hanks movie after it. "Pyramids" is the epic, intimidatingly complex piece of storytelling that’s somehow an easy re-listen even though its 10 minutes long, which is like 19 hours in song runtime. “White,” a collaboration with John Mayer, features the best lyrics I've ever heard even though it's an instrumental.
“Bad Religion,” “Pilot Jones,” “Lost”—Frank paints perfect pictures of the trials and tribulations of love and loss like he's the Nicholas Sparks of R&B. And if you get that reference you're a goddamn loser and we should hang out sometime.
We waited four years for Frank’s next act, Blonde, but once it finally arrived we had to stop making “Where is Frank Ocean?” jokes on Twitter, which, honestly, was my only hobby. It was even better than Channel ORANGE.
“Solo” is a tribute to demoralizing loneliness. “Good Guy” is a brief peek into a disappointingly shallow date. “White Ferrari” is about... I honestly have no idea but it sounds good. And “Self Control” is probably in my top five songs of all time, period. If you can listen to that record without crying you’re a sociopath and should be tied to a chair and forced to watch a Days of Our Lives marathon until you've developed the ability to experience real human emotions.
As you’re reading these run-on sentences, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, Drew, you’re obviously right, but what’s the point here?” Well, here’s where things get awkward.
Frank’s albums hit you right at your core when you’re going through a breakup, but what if you’re not going through a breakup? How the fuck are you supposed to connect with these albums in the way they were intended? Now you can see my dilemma.
In the past, Frank’s albums have helped me power through states of heartbreak. But at the moment, I'm happy, which also makes me miserable because now I can't relate to these albums anymore. I never knew happiness could be so depressing. Life is pretty good for me right now. I feel healthy, emotionally stable, and relaxed. It sucks.
So I'm sending out an open invitation. A desperate request. Someone, please break my heart so I can relate to Frank Ocean albums again.
Date me, make me fall in love with you, and betray me. I’ll pay you.
Sleep with all my friends. Cheat on me with my grandpa. Crash my car and blame me. Own a secret MAGA hat. Surprise me with Louis CK tickets. Take off a wig and reveal that you've secretly been a Sacha Baron Cohen character this whole time. ANYTHING.
Artists drop surprise albums all the time now. What if Frank randomly releases a new project tomorrow and I’m not heartbroken when I hear it for the first time? That’s fucking terrifying. I gotta get my heart crushed just in case. Better safe than sorry, right?
In a nutshell: I’m desperate for heartbreak. I need to listen to "Self Control" again and have it punch my soul the way God intended. I gotta be able to listen to "Thinkin Bout You" and feel depressed.
Help me out, Frank. I’m living a nightmare.
Happiness means not being able to feel Frank Ocean’s music on a gut level. So maybe “happiness” isn't even real happiness after all.
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