When exactly did Frank Ocean’s possibly-new song, “Best Seller” surface? Some say a few days ago; some say it’s super old; most people encountered it as that teensy headline buried beneath The Throne. Or, in other words, a midlist track up against a probable best-seller. Hey, speaking of which! Listen to the (tagged) track below:
There are two moderate surprises about “Best Seller.” We’ve alluded to the first–the metaphor in question is a best-selling book, not an album or other musical venture. That’s practically outre. Second, the “best seller” Ocean’s talking about is probably something by Dan Brown–something you don’t want to emulate. “Don’t try to make it a best-seller,” Ocean sings after verses like a sobered-up “Novacane” and over synth strings that move like rain fronts. Every Frank Ocean track seems more and more disconnected from Odd Future; here, the collective exists only in pronouns on lyrics like “we wrote it together” and “those who stood against us.”
None of this is to imply “Best Seller” is an arty or pissy outsider bit; to the contrary, it’s among his most accessible tracks to date, the barely audible “you look great with that logo, don’t you?” murmured at the start all that’d raise an eyebrow (and even then just a centimeter or so). It’s a much better showcase for Frank than Watch the Throne, where he seemed a teensy bit out of his depth and his voice juuust slightly too thin for the opulence around him. If “Best Seller” gets the publicity or views Ocean’s half-afraid of, he’ll probably have to grapple further with his sudden fame.