As I’m washing clothes and getting ready for the rest of my week, I get in the mood to listen to some old Frank Ocean music, so I turn on his 2011 released mixtape “nostalgia, ULTRA.”
Frank Ocean is a singer/songwriter and has written songs for countless artists, like Justin Bieber, John Legend, Alicia Keys and even Beyonce. But that is not what caught my love for his music. His writing his own music is what gives me life.
Ocean said he was inspired to make the mixtape after Hurricane Katrina in his hometown, New Orleans, and his following relocation to Los Angeles. This mixtape is a 10-song project full of storytelling love songs, abstract thinking and vocals sent from heaven.
First song, “Street Fighter,” is actually not a song at all but an intro of him naming it after the Street Fighter series – a game he used to play on the Nintendo 64 as a child, which also came out the same year Ocean was born. The next track, “We All Try,” is one of my favorites because of the way he writes about what he believes in and what he does not ,but that he still believes in humanity.
As you can tell, mixtapes can be a bit more personal than what you can say on an album, and I love that concept.
Most of the project consists of women talking in interludes and skits, which turns into “Songs For Women,” which is my favorite on song on the tape because of the guitar riffs and his writing. He’s brilliant!
The project ends in “Dust,” which is the second to last song on the project. Probably my least favorite for one reason: it’s too short. But it ends so beautifully with “American Wedding,” and the guitar solo is perfect considering the title. That’s exactly what it sounds like and the lyrics are just the cherry on top.
After six years of constantly analyzing and replaying this mixtape, I give “nostalgia, ULTRA” a 9/10 for its originality and simplicity. It’s just him, which is also an A+. I can listen to this more than any of his albums that he has put out in the last couple of years, so what does that tell you?