We may only be 50 days into 2018, but Frank Ocean has yet again proved he is our generations’ top crooner with the years’ best vocal performance thus far. With the gripping delicateness of man who has proved time and time again his ability to give a ballad so much genuine emotion, Ocean’s cover of “Moon River” is really a beautiful thing.
The track, written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini, was made famous by Audrey Hepburn’s performance of it in the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn sits along a windowsill and sings of a beautiful night shared by “two drifters.” The song won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1961 and two Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1962. So you could say it touched a few hearts back then.
Ocean has given “Moon River” the revival it needs while putting his own magical touch to it. Simple guitar chords and his own harmonizing guide the listener into a gentle euphoria as he laments over a love lost. The way he can take something old and a little forgotten, brush the dust off and give it a new shiny glass frame is just another reason why he should be considered one of the best singers of the 21st century (if not the best. Like really, he’s probably the best). As he sings near the end “we’re all chasin’ after our ends, chasin’ after our ends,” his familiar vocal runs give the song more soul and feeling than Hepburn’s original version ever could.
The song is only slightly over three minutes, but the way Ocean sings it just makes me want to play it over and over again, hoping to capture that feeling he creates and bottle it up for when I’m blue and need a quick shot of Frank Ocean-certified love. The man can do a lot of things with his voice, but on “Moon River,” he really hits you in the gut. Anyone who’s ever stared up at the sky late at night thinking about a feeling of love so deep it brings tears could benefit from listening to this gem.
Frank Ocean is a singer who, like another iconic Frank hailing from a different time, can pull at your heartstrings and make you contemplate the power of love. With “Moon River,” he starts his 2018 off with a very beautiful bang.