On February 14, Frank Ocean shared his rendition of the Oscar-winning song “Moon River”, originally written by Henry Mancini. It was first sung by Audrey Hepburn in her iconic role as Holly Golightly in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Since its original release, “Moon River” has been reinterpreted by legendary artists from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse. However, Ocean’s re-imagination of the record stands unique while giving listeners a sound reminiscent of his 2016 album Blonde.
With “Moon River,” Ocean captures sentiments felt by a millennial generation struggling to find a place in the ever-changing world. Frank Ocean’s use of vocal layering and varied pitches creates a hypnotic confusion held together by a steady guitar riff. Through this technique, he creates a mosaic of sound accompanied by lyrics such as, “It’s such a crazy world to see,” mirroring emotions felt by millennials.
This rendition emphasizes Ocean’s attentiveness to the woes of the human experience in contemporary times as he captures a sense of longing with lines such as, “We’re all chasin’ after all the same.” These feelings of un-fulfillment are ever so present in our current society, however, Frank Ocean’s interpretation of this truth is not all morbid, but rather bittersweet. In the pursuit of self-understanding and placement in the world expressed through lyrics such as, “What I see, who I become.” Ocean further demonstrates that love and companionship play a crucial role in this discovery displayed in his outro as he sings, “Life’s just around the bend/ My friend/Moon river and me.”
With the release of “Moon River,” Ocean has shown once again that he is a beacon of hope for a generation grappling with current external pressures from generations before. Frank Ocean continues to break down social barriers and challenges the world to think differently. Using language that traditionally reinforces gender norms such as, “Boy Don’t Cry”, Ocean continues to reinterpret the status-quo into a source of strength. Starting off the new year with “Moon River” proves that the 30-year-old creative will not disappoint in 2018, nor in years to come.