Frank Ocean notoriously keeps his heart private – giving the world music with such strong emotion that he can afford to retreat as a person while his art weeps for him instead. He’s a clever artist, making music on his own terms; he sandwiched his conceptual visual album Endless (still not available to stream on Spotify) between Channel Orange and Blonde in order to fulfil his recording contract and still be able to create freely.
It’s a surprise, then, that an artist as elusive and adored as Ocean features so heavily in Trey Edward Shults’s unapologetically sprawling and devastating third feature Waves. Tonally it makes sense, as Ocean’s songs pierce through fears of loneliness and inadequacy with a rare vulnerability. There’s more to this operatic film than just Ocean, but his influence seldom fades from view.
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