Poetry in Frank Ocean’s Pink+White

As conveyed in the title “Pink+White”, Frank Ocean explains his passion for a person and his perspective on the world through his memories. He interlaces the ups and downs that come with feelings of love and attachment by comparing them to either light or darkness with seemingly no in between. 

The first set of lyrics in the song serves to describe a strange pink and white landscape then contrast it with a more realistic black and yellow landscape in order to highlight the randomness and lack of control we have in the world. 

“That’s the way everyday goes

Every time we’ve no control

If the sky is pink and white

If the ground is black and yellow

It’s the same way you showed me”

The following verses make an undeniable statement about the importance of love and trust during disastrous times. Ocean uses a metaphor about the atmosphere and north and south geography to describe his attachment to someone he loves. The description of feeling “south” contradicts the cold loneliness of the north and provides a sense of comfort. The comparison to the Earth and its atmosphere describe how Ocean felt powerless in such a vast world and was unable to grasp the events taking place in his own life. 

“If you could fly then you’d feel south

Up north’s getting cold soon

The way it is, we’re on land

So I’m someone to hold true

Keep you cool in this good life

Won’t let you down when it’s all ruined”

Ocean uses vivid imagery throughout the song to tell specific memories from his earlier life. The peaceful music and fond portrayal of the memory give the listener a sense of peace yet the subtle ominous intermissions scattered throughout, such as the mention of a hurricane, send a different message. The guitar strums softly in the background while the lyrics recall children playing. 

“In the wake of a hurricane

Dark skin of a summer shade

Nosedive in the flood lines

Tall tower of milk crates

It’s the same way you showed me

Cannonball off the porch side

Older kids trying off the roof”

On the surface the song seems to be recalling fond memories from his past until the end of the piece. Ocean uses repetition of the line “the same way you showed me”. The repetition of this line, written in the past tense suggests that he had been talking about the happy memories and affection of someone he lost throughout the song. After repeating this line multiple times in seemingly random spots in the song he sings 

“That’s the same way you showed me, showed me

You showed me love

Glory from above

Regard my dear

It’s all downhill from here”

This shift in tone continues until the end of the poem where he reminisces about cigarettes and tragedy and how he has nostalgia for his past despite the fact that it was a more difficult time in many aspects. As the song progresses from fond memories to more dark moments of his past it becomes apparent that Ocean’s purpose in these lyrics was to describe how relationships tend  to go wrong after the “glory”. This however does not mean that the two were never good, in fact using the term “glory” suggests that at one point things were going very well between them. Instead he is pointing his experiences in how after a relationship reaches a peak it begins to fail shortly thereafter each and every time leaving him feeling out of control.

One thought on “Poetry in Frank Ocean’s Pink+White

  1. Matthias M.

    I really like the comparison to the lines/ stanzas to the verses of song. With the ammount of meaning that form can have this is really powerful

    Like

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