Recently, I compared Frank Ocean's songwriting ability to that of the writing genius of Toni Morrison. Wait. Hear me out before you stop reading all together. My homeboy asked me a couple days ago if I could decipher Ocean's lyrics to have them make sense. His question verbatim was:
"On his new cd, do you get what he's talking about in most of his songs? It was pointed out to me that most of them are randomness."
I replied, telling him that I could see how it could be construed as such and agreed that I really have to tune the world out when I listen to his music. The way he approaches a song is definitely unconventional, a total 180 from what we're used to in our juvenile age of music. Despite his complexities, there is still a considerable amount of people who love and appreciate Frank Ocean as an artist.
Me: "I look at his music as an abstract piece of art; everyone won't get the same thing from the same body of work. I like that his style is complicated because it differs from the overly simplistic style we're bombarded with daily."
"Is it really complicated or is it just a bunch of stuff mixed into one?"
"It's just like reading a Morrison novel, in my opinion. Each sentence in her many incomparable works is so loaded with information. You're given a history lesson that is so descriptive to the point where you're lost by the time you reach the end of the page. Now you have to go back to the top and re-read just to keep up with the story line. She does this consistently and she's heralded as a literary great!"
I went on to say that because Ocean has more than one dimension when it comes to song writing, it makes his work complicated to the average ear (one's not accustomed to reading between the lines). "But, this is just my opinion," I offered. "You could be right. He could have been trippin' off the purest of coke while writing these sh*ts."
Me and my friend have these musical debates often and though I'm not an expert on the subject, it does help me in terms of forming my own opinion and learning how to put my jumbled thoughts into coherent words. My question though, is have we reached a point in music where everything must be watered down and straight to the point? Have we done away the art of critical thinking and exercising creative methods of communication?
I do not intend to bash artists who have a simplistic flow (2 Chainz, for example) because their music serves a purpose. Plus, I'm not here to knock their hustle. But in those artists' glorification, are the deep thinkers in the business to be lost in the grand scheme of things? It makes you wonder what people want from music these days