Overlooked Albums of 2011: Frank Ocean

Kevin Kunitake

Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.

With his first major release, Frank Ocean emerges as a broken-hearted sensitive crooner (a.k.a. an oddball) in the OFWGKTA crew, the angry youth-driven group that the public has deemed to be the worst thing since unsliced bread. While parents worried themselves silly with the Wolf Gang‰’s violent-sex crazed dirty raps, Ocean silently dropped one of the year‰’s softest, most honest releases. Listening to Nostalgia, Ultra. is like thumbing through old high school yearbooks, even if school didn‰’t consist of smooth R&B jam and sweet love-story heartbreak.

What sets Ocean apart from his R&B contemporaries is his songwriting ability. Layering well thought-out lyrics atop drum kicks of a genre more crudely known as “modern-day baby-making music‰” isn‰’t typical. Yet, Ocean does it well and with style. The strength of Nostalgia, Ultra alone landed the 24-year-old studio time with Beyonce, Nas, Kanye and Jay-Z.

Nostalgia, Ultra. is a trip down memory lane and the tour guide is the sweetest member of the crew that yells, “Kill People. Burn Shit. Fuck School.‰” He‰’ll point out teenage misfortune, young love and everything else necessary to make Nostalgia, Ultra. exactly what its title advertises.