This track is a raw and beautiful confession. The elegant piano introduction sets the tone that this is a deep tune. The slow, graceful music is paralleled with Frank Ocean’s smooth lyrical presentation, while his fluctuation in key adds to the contrast. This is a song you would put on when you’re relaxing at home or walking on the beach, thinking about that someone out there. That love in the back of your mind.
The beat is consistent throughout the song, unlike Ocean’s emotions;
“My guy pretty like a girl / And he got fight stories to tell / I see both sides like Chanel / See on both sides like Chanel /…12 treat a n***a like he 12 / How you looking up to me and talking down? / Can’t you see I am the big man? / God level I am the I am”.
Listeners could relate this song to a statement made on Frank Ocean’s Tumblr where expresses how one summer he found himself in love with another man. Their relationship carried on for a few summers, the two becoming closer and closer. Until one year when Ocean confessed his love, but was rejected when the other man chose to continue his relationship with his current girlfriend.
Although he tried to get over his feelings, the song expresses his difficulty, sometimes turning to substances and materialism;
“And I don’t like to fight til’ I’m fighting / Revenge in the air make my lungs sick / …It’s really you on my mind / Steam both sides of the L / Freeze smoke rings and they hail / Sleet snow grind for the wealth / Whole team diamonds is real / Showed em’ how to shine by themselves”.
Ocean ends the track bragging about having thousands in Delta Flight cards, as well as a backpack full of CD’s; giving listeners the curiosity of whether or not he will be releasing any of these ‘backpack tracks’; “My pockets snug / They Can’t hold my 7 / They banned my Visa / My Amex and Master cards / I got new money / And it’s all cash / I got new bags / And they all collabs / I rubber band a bunch of thousand dollar Delta gift cards / I made my baby buy / Amazing the cash online unknown / I made my baby buy / Blazing the dash counting money at home”.
So, though Ocean may have had a rough time lately, his heartache has seemingly added fuel to his fire, giving proof to the line; ‘What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger’. Give “Chanel” a listen, it is definitely a flexible track for a range of different listeners to relate to. Keep an eye on Ocean and his upcoming releases on his Tumblr and Spotify pages!
Also, check the "Remix", a version that A$AP Rocky roughly chopped and screwed an extra verse for himself to rap over.