Rising RnB star Frank Ocean never does things by the book, as his latest track “Pyramids” will attest to.
The Odd Future-affiliated crooner seems to have stuffed everything but the kitchen sink into this one. In the beginning, a backwards beat meets a smooth bassline, over which Ocean sings about a woman named Cleopatra. Real drums and some synth sounds move in, as he carries on about ancient Egyptian-themed love. Rick James would be proud. Then things get weird.
Around the halfway mark, Cleopatra goes “workin’ at the pyramid” (did Pharaohs have nightshifts? Or is this “Cleopatra” really a stripper or a call girl?) and the song gets slower and more stripped down, held together by a sparse 808 beat and some catchy keys.
Listen to the track here:
The song’s extended coda only adds to the overall strange, low-key feeling of melancholia-meets-eroticism (Peep the single’s dirty, surreal, “Simpsons”-inspired artwork above). It signs off with a psychedelic guitar solo from none other than John Mayer.
“Pyramids” is the first song to be released from Ocean’s long-delayed “Channel Orange” (Def Jam), which is finally scheduled to drop July 17.
What do you think of the song?