In a stunning act of generosity, Frank Ocean has given us what is essentially his second single in the span of a year with “Chanel.” We have seen Frank recently in “Slide” by Calvin Harris; but this is ever-evasive solo Frank, telling stories about his “new money” in the wake of the phenomenon that was Blonde. The track is very similar to the musical style of Blonde, winding between singing and rapping, switching flows, playing with tone of voice, even some auto-tune. There isn’t much showing of Frank’s vocal range, but that’s okay. Frank has established himself with his rhymes just as much as he has with his singing, and this track is a good example of him being able to make something effective without having to rely on his voice.
The song is repetitive yet unpredictable in that you don’t mindlessly expect when the hook is going to hit, when the beat is going to drop, and all of the other conditioned responses we have to pop music in these trying times. The hook repeats, but afterwards we’re introduced to something different within the song. After the first verse and hook, the second verse is in a higher pitch, has a similar rhyme scheme and flow, but differences in the lyrics make the listener tune-in to catch the distinctions. The production of the track is quiet, winter-like, driven by some offbeat drums and honestly reminds me of some Minecraft music. While “Chanel” is great by itself, it inevitably makes me yearn for another full-length Frank Ocean project. Frank Ocean is an exciting artist to follow at the moment, but it is hard to say I expect more in the near future, as he has made his name by flouting expectations.