Frank Ocean has been hit or miss on his television performances. Mostly hit because he’s a musical genius, but every now and again his visions have gotten muddled. While I originally praised his performance during the 2012 VMAs, on second viewing, his rendition of “Thinking About You” is pretty bland.
He doesn’t sing all that much. He turned “Thinking About You” from an arresting, emotional lead ballad to the hypnotic brooding weird track, the kind artists bury in the middle of their albums to build tension. It’s still kind of cool, but on a national stage that kind of rendition is not going to attract him kind attention he needs to earn those Grammys.
In other venues, Frank Ocean has been fantastic. His performances on SNL sent all the right vibes through the satellite ether.
And he sung impeccably on Jimmy Fallon.
Frank Ocean doesn’t have the traditional approach to crafting high-profile performances. He just closes his eyes and sings from the heart. You can tell there’s a lot going on inside of his head when he’s singing. He’s shaping his notes, feeling out the lines, giving very little attention to his audience, or considering his music’s reception. For the most part, this is a good thing. He trusts in his ability as an artist. It allows him to sing uncompromised.
Frank Ocean is the most unpredictable performer scheduled this Sunday. He is the most exciting musician to emerge onto the culture’s main stage since Michael Jackson. With six nominations, I hope he is adequately recognized. Frank Ocean has the potential to do a lot towards improving America’s musical tastes. If he can to do his part by not making “Thinking About You” into a chilling meditation raga on national television, he will bring us to a new, enlightened stage in our musical evolution.