Not all that long ago -- March 1, in fact, when he posted his Nostalgia: Ultra mixtape on his tumblr, alongside a heartfelt rant against label Def Jam -- Frank Ocean was leaking tracks with abandon, worried they wouldn't otherwise see the light of day.
Things have pretty clearly changed in Ocean's universe. "Novacane," a Nostalgia standout, cracked Billboard's Hot 100 three weeks ago. He's featured (twice!) on the year's biggest hip-hop release. Addressing his past self on tumblr, he wrote, "it's all working out kid. you made it."
So it's not entirely shocking that Ocean isn't throwing free music at us anymore -- he posted a new song entitled "Thinking of You" to his tumblr last night, before quickly removing it. But the internet is a resourceful beast, and as Ocean no doubt knows, you can't just put something back in a box and make it disappear. Check out a stream of the track over at Complex.
"Thinking of You" is a listless, woozy synth slow-jam that puts Ocean's highest register on display. Ocean's been mentioned along with Abel Tesfaye's Weeknd project and Tom Krell's How to Dress Well moniker (two acts that themselves don't have all that much in common) as part of a strain of hipster-leaning R&B.
In reality, Ocean has drawn these comparisons due to context -- in particular, his affiliation with shock-rap Pitchfork favorites Odd Future -- moreso than substance. At its core, Ocean's music is a far more orthodox take on '90s FM R&B than Tesfaye's dubstep-influenced production or Krell's ethereally processed samples. But the man's voice is a wonder to behold: smooth and resonant, with a world-weary charisma. No wonder Kanye and Jay took notice.