Frank Ocean's standout "Rushes To" on 'Endless' shows how much his art has matured
Endless is definitely not the sweeping, hyper-polished magnum opus many figured would mark Frank Ocean's official comeback to music. Instead, its smooth, transient melodies are more like the perfect background ambiance of a relaxing Saturday drive.
Dig a little deeper, though, and the hidden gems interspersed throughout Ocean's latest project start to shine out. Near the end of his emotional, eclectic 45-minute visual album, the most remarkable track presents itself in the form of "Rushes To."
If Endless is a staircase to an entirely new stage in Ocean's life and career, "Rushes To" is its central pillar. It reveals everything Ocean poured into his work over the course of four years.
"Rushes To," the penultimate track on Endless, is stripped down instrumentally and most revealing lyrically. As Ocean strums his guitar — the only time he plays the instrument himself throughout the album — he sings of a flagging relationship, his struggles to conform to society's standards and fears of losing his opportunity to seize his full potential.
"Saturdays involved making our entrances into life outside," Ocean sings, seemingly to a lover or his music. "We've been in this room too long/ Recreation is keeping us self contained and aware of each other's form/ Still and in full strides just the same."
At one point, Ocean even seems to nod to his absence from music's limelight, explaining how he's not ready to sit back on a mediocre release. "All this time I knew that average was something to fall back on after genius ends," Ocean croons.
Right now, it remains unclear what comes next now that Ocean has broken his silence — a novel, a magazine, a clothing line and likely an imminent second album are all rumored to be on the way; Ocean makes it clear on "Rushes To" he refuses to settle for the status quo. It's a testament to the time and dedication Ocean has spent summoning this next R&B wave. It's clear the man behind the music feels his fans deserve nothing less.