Rising R&B star Frank Ocean made his network TV debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, creating a tsunami of trending topics along the way. A few hours before Fallon aired at 12:30 a.m., Pitchfork reported that Ocean’s highly anticipated Channel ORANGE LP would be hitting the iTunes Store at midnight, a full week before the album’s official July 17th street date; it promptly went straight to #1 on the charts, where it still sits at this time. Proving that he “gets it,” Ocean has also made his major label debut available to stream in its entirety on his Tumblr; as a result, the Internet is sure to be dominated by conversation about Frank Ocean again today, much like it has been for the last week and some change.
Ocean performed “Bad Religion,” a track off Channel ORANGE, aided by a string section and the legendary Roots crew. If you interpret the lyrics in a literal fashion, it can be read as a harsh critique of Islam (“If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion”). However, peel back a layer or two and the song takes on an entirely different meaning, one in which Ocean struggles to deal with a love that’s both unreciprocated and, in the eyes of most of the world, unconventional. “This unrequited love/To me is nothing but a one man cult/Cyanide in my styrofoam cup/I could never make him love me,” he plaintively confesses, shedding some additional light on last week’s controversy regarding Ocean’s sexuality. It’s a bold statement from a very promising artist, and we look forward to spending a lot more time with the album over the coming days and weeks.
PAUL MCCARTNEY IS TEAMING UP WITH HALO CREATORS FOR NEW PROJECT
The former Beatle has hooked up with the team behind the hugely popular video game Halo to make some new music for, well, nobody knows yet. Nevertheless, this sounds like a project worth keeping an eye on. [RS] Read more…
PEARL JAM DIEHARD GETS HIS DREAM SET
Superfan Brian Farias has been to 108 Pearl Jam shows but none so special as the 109th, when the band played a setlist (complete with two encores!) he had drafted for them. [RS]
DO YOU DRIP.FM?
Music nerds, behold! Based on HBO’s “quality, consistency and catalog” model, this new music subscription service “drips” new releases straight from the labels to your inbox several times a month. [LAWeekly]
KEEP COOL IN JAMES HETFIELD’S SUNGLASSES
The “road dog” Metallica frontman is releasing “faster than a speeding riff” pair of shades through Sutro Eyewear. And for just $219.99, they’re yours! [Vulture]
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT
In the New York Times this weekend, Frank Ocean talks about love and life and his new album; and James Murphy talks about his almost starring role in Noah Baumbach’s since slashed The Corrections adaptation. And to soundtrack your reading, “Sweet Life,” a Pharrell assisted leak from Channel Orange. Happy weekend! [NYT/NYT / Fader]
Frank Ocean’s courage was all the rave on social media as folks were celebrating their 4th of July with booze and barbeque. In light of a few headlines speculating about Frank’s sexuality, he decided to put the rumors to rest by releasing a “thank you’s” letter on his Tumblr that he’d originally intended to include in his upcoming album Channel Orange. In the letter he didn’t officially “come out” as gay or bi-sexual, but he admitted that his first love was a man. Like us, a legion of fans, celebrities included, were overjoyed with his transparency and bravery. Most of all, we were happy he finally could write the words: “I feel like a free man.” Read more…
Summer, summer, summertime…time to sit back and unwind. Hey, if that’s how Will Smith recommends to spend the months of June, July, and August, who am I to argue? As my colleagues Bené and Zara have attested, summer’s a time to be spent outdoors with friends, preferably with a boombox in proximity. We’re going to start counting down the 2012 Song Of The Summer very soon, but for now, here are three songs that I’ll be hitting repeat on all summer long.
NOMINATION:Icona Pop, “I Love It” EXPLANATION: Why do Swedes make the best pop music? Someone really ought to research this! While we all anxiously await for someone else to do the heavy lifting with that essay, I’m going to be bouncing around my apartment cranking this electro-pop earworm all the way up to 11, shouting “I DON’T CARE!” like a madman. The pulsating beats that dare you not to bounce up-and-down while pumping your fists (not fist pumping, though, because that’s lame), the crazy catchy sing-along melodies, the fact that it clocks in at exactly 3 minutes … all of these ingredients create a perfect recipe for a summer jam. Read more…
Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, you’ll remember, has been signed to Island Def Jam since 2009. After growing increasingly frustrated by how long they were taking to get his album out, Ocean posted Nostalgia, Ultra to his Tumblr and watched the “Like” count soar. Def Jam was watching too, apparently, because this summer they are giving Ocean the record release he has so earned.
Last night, Ocean previewed his major label debut Channel Orange, out officially July 17, for a lucky few journalists at KMA Studios in New York. And from the sounds of it, with amped up production and stronger songwriting, as well as all-star guest spots from fell Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt and Outkast’s Andre 3000, this second round will be even better than the last.
Performing at Coachella for two consecutive weekends must be intense for artists. They understand that each show is different, as is each audience. Doing an exact repeat performance of a set that has already been viewed around the ‘net by thousands of fans could be career suicide. (Well, at least Coachella career suicide.) Frank Ocean, an artist whose reputation has been built up by the Internet, is definitely someone who recognizes this, so he made sure to switch things up a bit this weekend by covering Lauryn Hill’s beloved “Tell Him” right out of the gates. The minute the crowd recognized the words, they went crazy. Not just because they were familiar, though, but because of the way Frank took the slow steady route, singing smoothly over the mellow instrumentals.
Ocean also gave the crowd another treat with his new song, “Forrest Gump,” which he explained to the rabid crowd as being on “one of his new jams” from his upcoming LP.
As we type this, the gates are about to open in Indio, California for the thirteenth incarnation of the Coachella Festival, and for the lucky few (hundred thousand) with wristbands (and the jealous/curious rest of us), the festival has posted set times for this weekend’s insanely strong lineup. There’s at least one performer worth seeing at any given time, so if you’re going, definitely try to check out at least one band you haven’t heard before. (If you’re like us and are sitting hundreds or thousands of miles away from the Empire Polo Club, YouTube will be livestreaming much of this year’s fest.)
As anyone who has ever attended a music festival will attest, the most difficult part of the weekend is choosing between one or more of your favorite acts who are scheduled to play at overlapping times. With that in mind, we’re here to help! Here are this weekend’s five most crowded time slots, along with our recommendations about who you should see at Coachella this weekend.
We’re trying to write this through tears so we’re sorry if what we’re about to say comes off as overly emotional or melancholy, but we’re broken hearted. Frank Ocean has announced via his Tumblr that he won’t be turning his critically acclaimed mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, into the hotly anticipated Nostalgia, Lite, full album after all. He wrote, “‘Nostalgia, Lite.’ is never coming out… Hahaha. What I look like a year later re-releasing my last album? Not icey. B*tch I’m icey.” Ocean had previously promised the album for summer this year, but instead has left us shattered and hopeless. There will, however, be a Def Jam debut from Ocean this spring, of which Ocean said, “[It felt like Def Jam was] signing a kid with dreams and talent with no intention of following through… [But now] we’re cool. There is a new album coming. I’m super proud of it.” So we suppose all hope is not lost after all!
Earlier this week, Frank Oceanposted to his Tumblr that Don Henley was threatening to sue him if he played “American Wedding” (a track from Ocean’s mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra that heavily samples The Eagles‘ “Hotel California”) ever again, but today modified the post to confirm that it’s Henley’s label, Warner Music, and not Henley himself that is threatening legal action. Ocean updated his Tumblr to say, “Don Henley(’s label — Rhino) is apparently intimidated by my rendition of Hotel California… He (They) threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s f**kin awesome. I guess if I play it at Coachella it’ll cost me a couple hundred racks. If I don’t show up to court, it’ll be a judgement against me & will probably show up on my credit report. Oh well. I try to buy my sh*t cash anyway. They also asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible. Sh*t’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as f**k? Why sue the new guy? I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything I’m paying homage.”
Apparently, however, Warner Music doesn’t see it the same way, with Larry Solters, a representative for the Eagles, telling SPIN, “Frank Ocean did not merely ‘sample’ a portion of the Eagles’ Hotel California; he took the whole master track, plus the song’s existing melody, and replaced the lyrics with his own. This is not creative, let alone ‘intimidating.’ It’s illegal. For the record, Don Henley has not threatened or instituted any legal action against Frank Ocean, although the Eagles are now considering whether they should. Any further questions regarding this matter should be directed to Warner Music Group as it is the entity that currently owns the master recording and made the contact with Frank Ocean’s representatives concerning his infringement of the master recording.”
While Ocean hasn’t actually made any money from sales of “American Wedding” (Nostalgia, Ultra was released as a free mix tape) it seems that Warner Music is ready to contest the use of “Hotel California” regardless. So Ocean’s not going to be forced to cough up any royalties for sales because there are none, although we question whether he’s liable to pay for performances of the song, given that he’s been paid for touring. Or worse yet — could Ocean be forced to delete “American Wedding” from his repertoire all together? Given that Nostalgia, Ultra was released over a year ago on Feburary 18th, 2011, it seems like Warner Music might have been a bit slow on the uptake — although given Ocean’s ever-growing profile and forthcoming official debut album, it seems like a pertinent time to curb the use of “Hotel California” especially with Ocean set to hit the tour circuit again, including his Coachella performance and mysterious Kanye West and Tyler The Creator collaboration.