cat_reviews

Frank Ocean Is Worth the Hype

July 27th, 2012

Frank Ocean – Terminal 5 – July 26, 2012


It’d be difficult to guess just from the stage setup who you were seeing. With the sprawling Persian rug, two holstered guitars and the stool at center stage, it looked like the setting of
MTV Unplugged. On appearances, you wouldn’t immediately suspect this to be the playpen
for Frank Ocean: R&B wunderkind, Odd Future crew member and, most recently cultural sensation. But, it also makes sense. Since his arrival by way of the debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, Ocean has separated himself from the pop pack by infusing lyrical sincerity, crafty songwriting and infectious personality into his music. So creating an intimate setting for the most highly sought after concert in New York City in some time felt like a clever personal touch, unexpectedly expected.

Frankophiles, the legion of fans who sang aloud with every song and pointed their iPhones toward the stage to record every moment of the show, accounted for the vocal majority of the sold-out crowd last night at Terminal 5. Before Ocean took to the stage, they chanted,
“Franky, Franky,” in a familiar sort of way. And from his quiet melodic opener of “Summer Remains” to the not-your-average-10-minute-single “Pyramids,” he wooed the floors of
people individually and collectively. The immediate impact of his masterful debut album, Channel Orange, was displayed as fans sang along to most of the varied set list. He gave a vocal performance that made one hour feel like an entire night: chanting to “Super Rich
Kids,”
emoting on a tweaked version of “American Wedding” and mystifying with “Bad Religion.” It affirmed that Frank Ocean has the talent for stardom and the vision for
greatness. —Jared Levy