Frank Ocean Performs At The Grammys

The Grammys! We spent altogether too much of last night watching and talking about them, and now it’s time to pick through the refuse for the gems. Not too surprisingly, two of the best performances came from the recent wave of personal, psychedelic R&B singer-songwriters. Frank Ocean may have lost in every single major category, but he still got a chance to sing “Forrest Gump” on a dizzying stage set that made it look like he was running through a 1970s car-chase movie. It was pretty. And Miguel, stuck with an insanely brief time-slot and forced to share the stage with Wiz Khalifa, still sang the everloving shit out of “Adorn,” showing absolutely dangerous levels of smooth. Jack White, who couldn’t possibly have less to do with circa-2013 R&B, also showed out, doing a spare and low-key rendition of “Love Interruption” with his all-female backing band and then burning through “Freedom At 21” with his all-male one. Watch all three performances below.

More on the Grammys later.

Comments (37)
  1. jack white wins

  2. So the interwebs are mad at Frank Ocean. I’m pretty sure he could give a shit. He could have done what he knows was a “hit”, but he wanted to do something different. To show he wasn’t just doing a stunt by proclaiming his bisexuality.

    I thought his stage was very compelling. This stage is about the performance and not the song.

  3. In Defense of the Grammys: A feature by Tom Breihan in which he tries to convince Stereogum readers that the gramophone-shaped award given to white generic male rockers, white generic male folk musicians, white generic veteran male musicians from your parents’ days, white generic country pop female musicians and the only critically acclaimed black rap and R&B musicians actually means something, featuring a forward by LL Cool J.

  4. Out of all of last night’s apparently picked-out-of-hat collaborations, the Miguel and Wiz thing was probably the least awkward, though I by no means support it.

    Which brings to mind a pressing question: did Flavor Flav and Chuck D switch bodies? I think that’s the only way the closing performance last night makes any sense.

    • Miguel and Wiz isn’t picked out of a hat, Wiz is on the remix of Adorn that’s being played on the radio right now. That’s why it felt way more natural.

      • Ah, good to know. A simple google search could have cleared that up for me, but I decided to just pull the trigger anyway. I’ll treat this as a teachable moment.

  5. Whoever looks over and shakes her head at the end of Jack’s performance is clearly saying “No, I haven’t heard of him either.”

  6. That performance almost ruined my raging lady boner for Frank Ocean

  7. That Frank Ocean performance was a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to something interesting from him, but instead I was just bored to tears.

  8. what does wiz khalifa do, exactly, other than ridiculous?

  9. Frank Ocean had a great opportunity to expand his fan base last night and he didn’t take it. My FB news feed was littered with “Who’s this Frank Ocean? I don’t get the hype/he’s off key/what is this/i don’t get it/etc” Now, Frank isn’t for ignorant people- but “Forrest Gump” was a very bold choice to put out there for that audience. A lot of the audience was left scratching their heads. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to do ‘Pyramids” or “Lost”?

  10. Jack White and Miguel killed, but man, Frank Ocean was rough.

  11. Definitely not Frank Ocean’s best performance. He killed it on Fallon with “Bad Religion”, but this was a big let down.

  12. I used to just think Frank Ocean was a bad singer, now I know he’s a bad whistler, too.

  13. “Forest Gump” is a stupid song and one of the reasons channel ORANGE isn’t the classic everyone wants it to be. Someone above said he should have played “Lost” which would have been amazing. Or even “Super Rich Kids” or “Sweet Life.” I can’t imagine why he chose “Forest Gump” and the video thing going on was just as lame as the song. All night I was telling my girlfriend that I was looking forward to Frank Ocean and then after that performance, she looked at me like I was an idiot.

    • Agreed! I was a bit embarrassed that I had hyped up Frank to a few of my friends, who looked at me like I was crazy after that performance (or at least I imagined that they did).

  14. Frank Ocean can’t write anything! Its all autotuned garbage from the I-Mac folders of better producers like fill in blank. Even Jay Z and Beyonce can write better then him and should have won a grammy. Tired of people defending frnak oceans music as so reactionary, so revolutuonary, so bla bla bla. So boooooooooooring. Snoozing all the way through its autotuned jungle of repetition. Even his daddy probably doesnt like it. Rather listen to Jay Z. Whats my man Jack White doing at the grammys anyway…..? Stuuuuuuuuuuuuupid show, like duh!

    • Do you know what auto tune sounds like? Clearly not. But anyways Frank Ocean is what the R&B world needs and the rap world for that matter. He’s a real writer. He’s crossing genres. I know that scares you. Apparently it scares a whole lot of ignorant people. He’s doing his thing just like “your man” Jack White has always done as a white blues singer. Taking genres and smashing the walls down. And Jack White was there getting the respect he deserves.

  15. I’ll keep it short and simple.

    I like Frank Ocean’s music. I have nothing against Frank Ocean as a person – he seems like a nice guy. Frank Ocean’s performance last night was AWFUL!

  16. Damn how he sounds off-key, and like he’s restraining himself from singing the same melody he sings on the album. Maybe he was sick I don’t know, but it’s clearly lame, mostly coz of the whistling. Which he couldn’t do properly either.

  17. I’m sure he was just very nervous. Going from virtual obscurity or indie underground to the grammys in the span of a few years is pretty big. He sounded a bit like Stevie Wonder here. I’m not a fan of his music but respect his talent for what it is. Just the nerves I’m sure.

  18. I don’t understand why people are so upset about frank ocean. His performance, though dry, seemed real. Why should he sound like he did on the album. That’s contradictory to what a live performance should be, a real human sound done in one take that seems alive compared to a track on an album which had gone through multiple takes to get it just right. Damn people he did something that took courage.

    • That’s not it at all. If you can’t sing the way you sang on the album live then it’s been altered in a way that most people view less than favorably. If he was to just sing it differently, that’s different. That’s artistic freedom. He didn’t sing it differently, he sang it BADLY. Most likely because he can’t sing it the way it sounds on the album. In case you missed it, that show was filled with people who performed live versions of tracks from their albums and killed it.

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