“For now, let’s call her Cleopatra.”
Eccentric musician Frank Ocean has had a tremendous surge in the last year. This is surprising because, as I wrote the other day about David Lynch’s music, Ocean is not exactly the norm. His biggest singles of the moment, “Thinking About You” and “Pyramids” (which he performed brilliantly on Saturday Night Live) defy easy categorization.
Like Lynch’s works, they are mood pieces that aim to disrupt and then disarm. This is the bellwether of good art. Disrupt= This is something different. Pay attention. Sometimes this goes so far as to be something you don’t want to hear, such as dissonance (although there is far greater use of disruptive dissonance in Lynch’s work). Then, Disarm= It’s different, but you like it. Either the disruptive qualities fold into pleasantness, or to greater effect, the disruption builds a world around you and the musician. The world the artist has crafted becomes your normal, for the moment. The oddness becomes comforting. This is what they mean when they say you become “transported.” For a brief time, the artist has tricked you into seeing the world differently. If that isn’t art’s ultimate goal, then it sure should be up there.
I don’t know if Frank Ocean has ever seen a David Lynch film, or vice versa, but the disrupt/disarm at work in “Pyramids,” especially when John Mayer makes an extended appearance, tells me that their worlds would be friends.
The video is NSFW: