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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Review: Frank Ocean steps back into the scene with “DHL”

After three intensely long years since his major project “Blond” was released, pop artist Frank Ocean has finally dropped a new song. 

Ocean has received many accolades for his various works. His studio debut album, “Channel Orange,” was named Best Urban Contemporary Album for the year 2012, in which he received a Grammy Award. Pitchfork named his second album, “Blond,” album of the decade, and he has written and produced multiple popular tracks. Ocean’s most recent single, “DHL,” came out Oct. 19, and I’ve had it on replay ever since. 

The spontaneous release of this single suggests that there might be a possible new album in the works. The cover art features a photo of Ocean sitting in a chair with a bag over his head. The image also includes silhouettes of other photos of Ocean. One of the silhouettes is highlighted, and resembles the main image on the cover. Based on the cover art, it’s implied that this song might be the fourth on an upcoming album. 

Ocean continues to create stellar music even with the hiatuses between his releases. His music is labeled as pop, but he tends to steer away from that genre, incorporating contemporary R&B, rap, electronic and alternative sounds within his music. 

In “DHL,” Ocean takes rap and converts it into an almost soft and soothing flow, yet still including powerful bass beats. Ocean uses his voice to show intense passion, enunciating every word as if it’s his last. Although he does use autotune at some points, he uses it in a way that is constructive, and never attempts to hide his calming voice. He uses an almost poetic way of rapping and uses repetition throughout the song. 

In the final 30 seconds of the song, Ocean switches to his natural and unhinged voice and ends in a way that makes you want to sing along. Similar to other R&B artists, the vocals combined with the instrumental music makes you feel good and that’s something you’ll always feel when listening to Ocean’s work.

On this track, he takes the opportunity to rap about “packs” he received from the DHL, his “boy toy,” which refers to his bisexuality, Starbucks, Kawasakis and even Paris Fashion Week. The general meaning of the song is unclear, but it’s safe to say that even though the meaning isn’t apparent to us, the song definitely still has one. 

Over time, Ocean has proven that he’s a viable rapper, artist, photographer and more. “DHL” marks a new beginning for Ocean, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.


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