Frank Ocean Is Back with New Single: “DHL”

For a man who is so talented at making music, Frank Ocean is famously unbothered when it comes to dropping it.

He’s an independent artist who plays by his own rules. Despite a few public appearances here and there, he is generally off the radar and not interested in fame. He doesn’t really tour and the chances of seeing him in public are, at best, unlikely. When asked if there is any new music on the way, he typically responds with a simple “no.” It’s been two years of silence from Ocean’s Beats 1 show, “Blonded Radio,” but a new episode appeared last weekend, when he teased a few upcoming songs and actually dropped a new single, “DHL.”

Normally, I feel like Frank Ocean exists in this balance of allowing the quality of his music to outweigh the few and far-between quantity of it. As a fan, I’m cool with that, even though I don’t really have a choice one way or another. As much as I would love to be bumping new Frank Ocean weekly, I can appreciate how he truly cares about the music he’s dropping, unlike a lot of mainstream artists just looking to top the charts. He’ll always stay relevant as an all-time top artist for me, even if he stops making music tomorrow. However, as much as I hate to say it, “DHL” was a bit of a letdown for me. 

Frank Ocean, if somehow you found the Her Campus Temple website and you are reading this article right now, I want to clarify that I am not hating.

I guess as a fan you should allow the artist to experiment with changing up their sound and expressing themselves in whichever way they choose. In a recent interview with W Magazine, Ocean dubbed clubbing and nightlife in Detroit and Chicago as a huge inspiration for the music he’s been working on. He’s definitely gravitating more towards electronic/techno music, and I’m not even mad about it. I’m just saying I have been trying to listen to “DHL” for a few days now, and I’m just not that into it. I think it’s more of an experimental piece than it is an actual representation of what his third album will sound like.

Ocean definitely shifted gears on the track, and it sounds like he’s just having fun with it. He blends some talking and some rapping with vocal effects over a pretty basic beat. His lyrics, which are typically soulful and melodic, are echoey and uncomplicated. He literally says, “Run me a trade, brushing his waves/Shit look like ramen noodles.” It’s not that deep, which is nice because I honestly just want him to enjoy himself. Sometimes it really seems like this man hates making music, and I wonder if that’s because his songs are typically emotional and require some vulnerability. I wanted to write this article as more of a criticism, but I really don’t think I can bring myself to slander him in any way. 

At the end of the day, Frank Ocean could drop a song of him breathing for four minutes and I would be like, “this is art.” My major takeaway from the song is that he’s experimenting with some new sounds and I believe an album is on the way, though it will probably take some time before we can actually listen to it.