Top 5 Frank Ocean Songs

Like many students at Magnet, I love Frank Ocean and listen to all of his songs on repeat. I will be ranking my favorite Frank Ocean songs, but I would also like to provide a DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion and as such please do not judge me too much!


#1 Strawberry Swing (from Nostalgia ULTRA)

Every song on this album is just so good, but this is definitely my favorite (I wish it was on Spotify, but you can still find it listed as a podcast). Like the album title, this song embodies nostalgia. As an adult, Frank reminisces on the good parts of his childhood and his relationship with his childhood best friend. As children, we often live in the moment and appreciate the small things in life, not worrying about the future. He states “Every moment was so precious.” Intertwined with happy memories, this song speaks on a darker subject. He speaks of a destroyed world where his life will just be filled with memories. “The entire world is fighting. All the world is at its end”. The theme of living life to the fullest is presented throughout the song because at a moment’s notice things could change. He states “We are all mortals, aren’t we? Any moment this could go”. He later explains that even if he were to die, he is content with the life he has lived, although he would miss the people he is closest to. This is depicted in the lyrics “But you should know, you should hear. That I have loved. I have loved the good times here. And I will miss our good times here”. Frank’s singing in this song is just impeccable; it is really calming and melodic. I highly recommend listening to this song and the whole Nostalgia ULTRA album if you have not already.


#2 Forrest Gump (from Channel Orange 2012)

This has been one of my all-time favorite songs since the beginning of 2022 due to its lyrical simplicity and deeper meaning. In January, I probably played this song at least once a day. As many have probably inferred, this song is loosely based on the iconic 1994 movie, Forrest Gump. Frank Ocean takes the perspective of Jenny, Forrest’s love interest in the movie; it has an especially powerful meaning because around the same time that this was released Frank Ocean stated in a letter that his first love was another man. In the movie, Jenny experienced a hard life; she was from an abusive household and could not maintain a relationship with Forrest. Like Jenny, Frank feels that his love interest’s free spirit allows him to naturally succeed in life while Frank struggles with deeper confusions such as sexuality and love. By taking the role of a female character, he defies traditional gender norms in order to exemplify unattainable love. His lyrics “I was screaming, “Run, forty-four!” But you kept running past the end zone. Oh, where’d you go, Forrest?”  exemplifies this unattainable love. At the end of the song, Frank gains closure. He states “Forrest green, Forrest blues. I’m remembering you. If this is love, I know it’s true. I won’t forget you”. He has come to terms with the fact that he will never be in a relationship with this man but is still thankful for the love that he felt. Overall, this song is top-tier and the lyrics are really addictive; this song gets a 10/10 from me!


#3 Nights (from Blonde 2016)

My third favorite song is Nights due to the split nature and meaning of this song. This song details the events after Frank was displaced from New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina and had to move to Houston. While living in Houston, Frank became addicted to cocaine, severely impacting both his personal and work life. He also discusses the highs and lows of a relationship which can be connected by rough nights. His struggle with this addiction can be seen in the lyric: “Wanna see nirvana, but don’t want to die yet”. Nights can be split into 2 parts: the high and the comedown. With the angry and frustrated instrumentals, the first half of the song demonstrates his struggle with addiction. You can feel the addicting and crazy high felt from cocaine through the first half of this song. The song then transitions into slow solemn music to show the comedown from the high. His tone turns defeated as he struggles to maintain the feeling of ecstasy. This song can also be interpreted as representing a strained relationship. He doesn’t fully trust him/her which can be seen when says “I don’t trust’em anyways. You can’t break the law with them”. Breaking the law would mean that he fully puts his trust in them. He varies his lyrics by saying “If I get my money right, you know I won’t need you” and “Hope you’re doin well, bruh. Everybody needs you”. He has a complex relationship with this person and much like his addiction he experiences highs and lows with them. Like the title, this song is great to listen to at night with the windows down. It is one of the more emotional songs on his album Blonde, but will definitely appear on my Spotify wrapped. 


#4 Pink + White (from Blonde 2016)

This song is a slower, more melodic song from the album. The song features Beyonce and was produced by Pharrell Williams. It references a lost friendship or relationship. The title “Pink+White” refers to the sunset that Frank would watch with his friend. From the lyrics “Glory from above. Regard my dear”, it can be inferred that this friend died and is now in heaven. “In the wake of a hurricane”; Frank likely experienced Hurricane Katrina with this person and would “climb trees”. This song is really nostalgic because it speaks of Frank’s childhood and lost memories. From the lyrics, it is most likely that this person died in a swimming pool. He says “If you could die and come back to life. Up for air from the swimming pool”. The ending of this song is really sad because he is speaking to the friend he lost. He states “Say what up to Matthew, to Shoob. Say what up to Danny. Say what up to life immortality”. This person had a meaningful impact on Frank’s life and was someone who contributed to his identity today. 


#5 Moon River (cover 2018)

This is one of Frank Ocean’s most underrated songs/covers in my opinion. I discovered it in 2021, and it has been my go-to sad song ever since. It is a cover of the 1961 Audrey Hepburn song in Breakfast at Tiffanys, one of my favorite movies as a child. In its original meaning, the song expresses the yearning for adventure and to be swept up by a river’s ever-flowing current. Much like Frank’s other covers, this song has taken on a whole new meaning. Frank does not view the river as a physical place like it was originally written; he sees it as a symbol for the trajectory of his life. This song illustrates the similar passions and paths that he and his friend follow. He states “Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ the same. Two drifters off to see the world”. Moon River is whimsical yet sad. Lyrics such as “Someday” and “Life just around the bend, my friend” make the listener question if this “someday” will ever come; will he ever reach fulfillment in his life? It is quite short and does end with about 20 seconds of silence. I think this is because the song is expressing Frank’s inner thoughts, even the blank space. If you are in need of a good sad song, I highly recommend Moon River. 


I had SUCH a hard time choosing and ranking songs for this article because I genuinely love every single Frank Ocean song. My favorite song often changes every month, but it usually is a Frank Ocean song. I would have ranked/explained the meaning behind more songs if this article wasn’t already so long (maybe a part 2???) so I am listing some more honorable mentions below:

  • Swim Good
  • Sweet Life
  • Novacane
  • Nature Feels
  • Seigfried 
  • Crack Rock
  • Literally, just listen to all of Frank Ocean’s songs 🙂