Courtesy of purplesneakers.com
By Katie Van Lew
The ever elusive Frank Ocean has graced the music world with two new songs, “Dear April” and “Cayendo.” Ocean has come a long way since his breakout album, channel ORANGE, which received seven Grammy nominations. Of the several nominations, Ocean’s channel ORANGE won for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild.”
After his Grammy debut, Ocean released Endless, a visual album, followed by blonde in August 2016. Since then, fans have long awaited a new album from Ocean.
In October 2019, Ocean first teased “Dear April” and “Cayendo” on his Beats 1 radioshow, blonded. Originally, these songs were exclusively available to fans who had pre-ordered Ocean’s 7” vinyl; however, on April 3, 2020, Frank Ocean released the two new accoustic songs, “Dear April” and “Cayendo.”
Ocean’s introspective lyricism shines through in “Dear April,” as he ponders a past love. There is an obscurity with the way in which he uses April. The meaning of the title “Dear April” can be interpreted as a love letter to his past love, while others associate the title with a letter to his youth. The ballad is nostalgic and reminisces on a love that will never be quite the same. Ocean entrances listeners with a dreamy melody as his voice is accompanied by a guitar and keys. His lyrics, propelled by deep emotion, do not necessarily make this a sad song, but a song that is reflective of the motions of love and life. Ocean sings about “these strangers” referring to himself and his love, coming together and making them “new.” His lyrics are repetitive, as he speaks about how this stranger altered him, yet the pair will never be able to revert back to a love that once was. Interspersed with his dejected revelation, Ocean appears to have some hope that the process of falling in love will be renewed, as he sings “But you will make something new;” thus insinuating that the process of falling in and out of love is perpetual.
In “Cayendo,” Ocean’s voice fades in and out as he begins the chorus in Spanish. Cayendo, which translates to “falling,” is a proclamation of an unreciprocated love, similar to Ocean’s 2016 hit, “Self Control.” Ocean, detailing his acceptance of an unrequited love, sings “Si esto no me ha partío’, ya no me partiré nunca” which translates to “If this hasn’t broken me yet, then I will never break.” Ocean’s chorus concludes with “Si puedo soportar lo que siento, ¿por qué me ‘toy cayendo?” This translates to “If I can’t bear what I feel, then why am I falling?” The chorus is revelatory of Ocean’s internal struggle to choose to love someone, despite said person not returning the feelings. Ocean’s lyricism analyzes the repercussions of a one-sided love and how the process is not necessarily a choice to him, but an inescapable situation. Within the second chorus, Ocean’s voice has transformed from his soft acceptance to a sense of defeat. Ocean resolves that he will continue to love, even if he will lose in the end.
The essence of these songs are reminiscent of songs from his albums blonde and Endless more so than his 2019 singles, “In My Room” and “DHL.” While it is unclear whether his new ballads are awaiting to be included in his next album, these songs shed some light into the enigmatic yet genius mind of Frank Ocean.