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MII Favorites: Frank Ocean: Self-Control

How can I possibly decide on my all-time favourite song? The impossible question. I feel like if you asked me this question every day, my answer would always be different. I would be picking from about 15 different options each day, and those 15 different options would also be changing each day themselves. The more I think about it the harder it is to land on an answer, but what I can do is give you my favourite song of all time, right now… if that makes sense.

In 2016 Frank Ocean released Blonde, which is undoubtedly my favourite album to ever exist. A neo soul masterpiece that includes my song of choice, Self Control. What a song, what a feeling encapsulated in chords, notes and melodies, what a moment in time contained in four minutes and nine seconds of pure Frank Ocean. If you haven’t heard Self Control or any of Blonde for that matter, this is your sign to press play on the generational album.

Self Control starts off with a very classic, on brand moment for Frank Ocean as he manipulates his voice to be very high pitched for the first few bars. We see this throughout the album, sometimes having large chunks of songs sung in this style, and other times just snippets. Interestingly enough, those first high pitched lyrics we hear are actually the last few lyrics of a much longer section of the song that is exclusively only played live, which I love as it means the released studio version of the song is a different experience from the live version. It fills the song with identity and depth. We then hear the smoothest of guitar riffs radiate through our ears, introducing the heavenly voice of Frank Ocean. As the song goes on, in comes some of the most thoughtful lyrics to ever be sung into a microphone, lyrics of love, loss, affection, nostalgia, reflection, youth, and everything in between. A perfectly flowing sequence of verses and choruses that never miss a beat, sticking the landing every single time and doing their own stunts. Frank is daring with his melodies and harmonies, breaking boundaries and going where others wouldn’t even think to go. A perfect reflection of himself as an artist, as well as the album as a whole.

The way I see it some songs could never be written again, if you stripped them from existence today, they would not come back, a one-time creation that we are simply so lucky to have the privilege of experiencing. Self Control reminds me of a specific point in my life, specific moments and people, feelings, environments, it’s owned a whole time period for me. It’s crazy that a man who I have never met can have such an effect on my life, just through music. That’s art, isn’t it? A piece having an impact on someone, leaving a mark and sticking with them is everything art should be. I am simply so happy that this song exists. My favourite song ever for now.

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