Trailers won’t tell you everything. For example, the brief snippet of Frank Ocean’s new track “Pyramids” heard in an ambiguous trailer a few days ago left out one key detail of the track: the damn thing is 10 minutes long. Think of it as prog-R&B, maybe–at least one writer at Grantland has. They’ve pointed out a couple other things (it’s chock full of references to vaguely Egyptian things, which would be hard not to be at 10 minutes long; it “definitely causes pregnancy,” which, sure, if you’re into the whole post-coital explanation-of-lyrics thing). To those, we will add a couple more.
- The song may be clever, but the album art’s more so.
- That said, “Pyramids” is basically a rewrite of Aida, the Disney/Broadway version, if there was an additional few scenes toward the end where modern-day Aida became a prostitute. (And was actually Cleopatra.)
- The song has nothing to do with Comin’ At Ya.
- It’s another case where the production far outstrips the vocal work: clanging and chiming and choirs for the intro, a dance break toward the middle that sounds like it was recorded in 2018, a slow jam for the second half that trickles like a hotel fountain. But every time Ocean releases something new, I become more convinced he needs maybe three months to firm up his vocals before prime time. You’d think that’d have happened before Channel Orange‘s release.
- There is a John Mayer guitar solo toward the end, which will probably change the way you think about both John Mayer and Frank Ocean. It’s just… it suddenly makes so much sense for their fanbases to overlap, right?