- Aundre Larrow
- Frank Ocean at Lollapalooza
To say Frank Ocean had a great year feels like an understatement. The R&B crooner and Odd Future member is responsible for making one of 2012’s most celebrated albums, Channel Orange, which cast a pretty big shadow over pop music that, at times, it felt like Ocean was the only person besides Kendrick Lamar and Chief Keef who released any new music this year. But Ocean didn’t just dominate music—he’s also responsible for one of the best pieces of music writing.
Ocean inspired plenty of great music writing, but that’s not what I’m talking about—Ocean managed to put together some memorable writing work this year outside of penning the lyrics for Channel Orange. As Grantland’s Steven Hyden wrote in his “Year in Music” article, “The year’s most notable music writing came from non-music critics.” Hyden focused on a couple pieces that sparked heated online discussions about the state of the industry: Emily White’s NPR post about music ownership and Damon Krukowski’s Pitchfork feature on music streaming. Those articles are certainly among the most notable pieces of music writing, but Ocean topped them with a short Tumblr post detailing the first time he fell in love with a man and the confusion and struggle surrounding those feelings.
Given Ocean’s fame, that article went viral shortly after he posted it back in July, and it launched countless think pieces about sexuality in popular music—specifically hip-hop, which is confusing considering Ocean isn’t a rapper. Notability aside, Ocean’s writing is as touching and heartfelt as his music, and his post is worth a read. Many news stories about this particular post stuck to reporting the basic content of Ocean’s announcement and glossed over certain other details, namely the writing program Ocean used for the piece—TextEdit.