Reviews

Frank Ocean’s Intoxicating New Single, “Chanel”

by Katherine Butler

Frank Ocean Chanel

Last week, Frank Ocean surprised fans and released a new single out of the blue on an episode of his Beats 1 radio show, Blonded. Later on in the show, Ocean premiered a remix of the song featuring A$AP Rocky.

The lyrics of the intoxicating single, combined with the style of Ocean’s voice, make the song sound like a quickly flowing stream of consciousness. His alluring, almost anguished voice is front and center throughout the song, while a simple beat works with a mellifluous piano tune in background.

The idiosyncratic style and vibe Frank Ocean has developed appears once more in this single. Although, “Chanel” feels more transgressive than usual—even for Ocean. The lyrics “My guy pretty like a girl / And he got fight stories to tell / I see on both sides like Chanel” challenge gender stereotypes and use the ambidexterity of the Chanel logo to reference sexuality fluidity and his own bisexuality. It is no secret that Frank has been in disagreement with society’s strict gender expectations and roles—even his website is sarcastically titled “BOYS DON’T CRY.”

Ocean has always worked hard to help overcome limits gender stereotypes and labels have set, both subtle and not-so-subtle. In “Chanel”, he makes sexual fluidity fashionable by comparing it to a highly coveted brand such as Chanel.

Chanel has taken full advantage of the shout out and referenced Frank Ocean in two of their latest Instagram posts – perhaps hinting at a possibility of a collaboration between the two.

Listen to both versions below:

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