The enigmatic cult icon Frank Ocean is finally back with some new content for the first time in a while. As he had done in the past with new singles such as “Biking,” “Chanel” and “Slide,” Ocean played his latest singles, “DHL” and “In My Room,” as the last song during his Beats1 radio show, blonded RADIO, with “DHL” being released on Oct. 19 and “In My Room” being released on Nov. 2.
With Ocean being such a mysterious figure, fans have been dissecting the latest tracks,specifically the track covers, for any hints of an album. The track cover for "DHL" contains the silhouette of 13 icons with the silhouette of the cover being highlighted. The track cover for "In My Room" similarly has the silhouette of icons; however, the cover has 17, including the icon for "DHL."
Originally, I believed this to be because there are going to be 13 songs on the album, if Ocean decides to drop another album. The addition of 4 more icons on "In My Room" could simply mean that there are going to be 17 songs on the album or something else entirely.
The sound of "DHL" has a sense of familiarity reminiscent to the Blonde era with many overlying vocals and synthesizers. However, it sounds like something completely new with a greater emphasis on rapping.
The track begins with a mechanically distorted voice that soon fades out as soon as Ocean begins his first verse. When listening to it, I imagined myself on an empty spaceship floating aimlessly in the cosmos.
This effect is due to the heavy reverb of both vocals and dreamy synths. This paired up with the slow boom-bap drum pattern creates a sense of transcendence and space.
About a minute and a half into the song, there is a beat switch where a funky bass loop is introduced and the beat is heavily focused around deep kicks and a dark synth. Compared to the first part of the song and the last four bars of the song, the verse and the beat blend together harmoniously, once again creating an empty floating sensation.
In a complete opposite perspective, Ocean’s second single, "In My Room," sounds nothing like his older works. It is as if "DHL" was one side of the coin and now "In My Room" is the antithesis. It is upbeat and sounds more reminiscent to contemporary trap music with the fast hi-hats and beat scheme, and the overemphasis on 808s throughout the song.
Everything from Ocean's flow over the beat and the subject matter of the song is very reminiscent to today’s popular music. Compared to "DHL," "In My Room" sounds like something one would hear at a house party with its deep bass.
With such different sounding singles that Ocean has released, I am excited to see what he has in store for an album I hope is in the works.
Contact contributor Daniel Saravia Romero at firstname.lastname@example.org.