Yesterday Odd Future's Frank Ocean cryptically hinted at a new album entitled Channel Orange with a short clip featuring Ocean crooning about Cleopatra. After that blew-up, Def Jam spoiled the surprise and officially confirmed the new album along with a slew of tour dates. While that was a move you might have seen coming, no one could have excepted Ocean to drop the full track from the video, a track that comes in at an uncharacteristic nine minutes.
The move was mind-boggling not because Ocean gave away free music (something he does with regularity), but because of that length. At nine minutes, "Pyramids" is the longest track in the Ocean cannon, one well known for effective minute and a half song bursts.Another oddity for Ocean on the track is the heavy dose of electronic sheen we see in the song's first half. Here sweat drips all over the track, with requisite breaks for Ocean to croon the chorus and cool off. Then the track shapeshifts to lovelorn slow-jam, as Ocean's Cleopatra kills herself and is reborn as a Las Vegas lady of the night. "Your love ain't free no more," Ocean despondently decrees. While Ocean repeats the melancholic mantra, the track descends into a wandering guitar solo, as Cleopatra presumably parades off into the night. Considering the chameleon nature of the song and its length, its easy to make comparisons to Kanye's "Runaway," the musical definition of despondent if there ever was one. But where Kanye was urging his love to leave him behind, Ocean is feebly praying she'll stay. With "Pyramids" Ocean has built his own monument to lost love that will stand the test time.