Behold Music & Mental Health, a feature we hope to bring you more often than not, written by the fabulous Imade Borha. She’ll check in from time to time with her thoughts on … well … presumably, music and mental health. Duh. If you dig, you can follow her on Twitter here. Enjoy!
Fan Fiction: Late one night, Frank Ocean, while wearing an oversized sweater and matching Birkenstocks, perused the Internet and found my column on Frederick Playlist where I went on a therapy session rant about Ocean’s resemblance to my deadbeat dad. A single tear fell down Ocean’s face as he sipped passion tea. He placed the cup on his makeshift coaster, which was a stack of angry Apple Music letters demanding Ocean hand over his album. Faintly, and ever so gently, Ocean whispered while gazing at the article. “Say no more, fam. Say no more.”
In my head, my column is the reason why Frank Ocean finally released the dual album “Boys Don’t Cry.” You’re welcome.
After listening to “Endless” and “Blonde” for the first time, I came to the deep conclusion that I don’t know a single word that Frank Ocean is saying. Words can be walls. And Ocean, (like many of us) constructs them to keep interior life out of plain view. With each new listen, the walls come down just a bit, and confounding metaphors (It’s hell on earth and the city’s on fire inhale, in hell there’s heaven) start attaching themselves to my own personal experiences. Frank Ocean’s walls keep out the lyrically lazy or maybe they attract listeners who can see a reflection of their lives in Ocean’s cryptic storytelling. He pushes people out as much as he lets people in.
There’s an expectation in our society for every word to lead to a definitive end. “Law & Order” manages to solve the most perplexing murders in an hour. Snapchat, excuse me, Instagram, can tell stories in seconds. There is nothing wrong with micro-storytelling, but Ocean’s latest project reveals how much words fail. No matter how profound and profane his lyrics are, there is still something to be known.
If you’re in the mood for music that embodies a range of emotions without words, check out Joy On Fire’s experimental jazz EP, “The Complete Book of Bonsai.” Joy On Fire will be a featured artist at Goddess Jam on Sept. 9. Sometimes, the best music speaks without saying.