While the Odd Future crew is widely known for Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt’s (‘Free Earl”) horrifically graphic “swag,” the smaller side projects Frank Ocean and Jet Age of Tomorrow might be the real diamonds in the ruff.
On Nostalagia, Ultra tracks are linked by interludes of tape deck sounds, clicking then stopping, as though Frank Ocean is recording a personal R&B mixtape for listeners. The album is strikingly stylistically diverse, at times overly indulgent in auto-tune, or creatively fusing 90s pop with dancehall or classic rock. On “Novacaine” Frank Ocean describes falling for a girl he met at Coachella, paralleling his feelings with taking drugs. “We All Try” reminds us of Sizzla’s (dancehall king) “Dry Cry,” and shows a mature side of Frank Ocean with lyrics “I believe in women’s temple gives her the right to choose, but baby don’t abort.” And while there are other highlights with “Swim Good” and “Songs for Women,” there are forgettable tracks like “Lovecrimes” and the kitsch “Nature Feels,” which rides the coattails of MGMT’s “Electric Feel” (same is true for “American Wedding”).
The Jet Age of Tomorrow is a production heavy group that like Frank Ocean shows promise with several tracks. The ambient “Thump Thump” has sonic textures that draw comparisons to Moby’s “Porcelain.” While, “Lunchbox” is a gritty hip hop beat, with stupid, but catchy lyricism by Vince Staples and JQ. On “Want You Still” Kilo Kish rhymes in a beatnik poetic style reminiscent of Digable Planets. “Betty’s Room” which is a drum heavy production by Tyler, The Creator sounds like a nod to Flying Lotus (who’s a fan of the crew).
Jet Age of Tomorrow: “Thump Thump”
Jet Age of Tomorrow: “Lunchbox”