Benjamin Roberts Blog Post 3 – Frank Ocean’s ‘Self Control’

Music has always played a major role in my life, especially in my high school years and even more so now as a college student. Wherever I go, I either have my headphones in playing music, or I have a speaker with me that will eventually be playing my favorite songs when I am able. The way that emotions are exuded through music, the lyrical meanings, the beat making, blending, production, and the true, raw feeling that I get when I play some of my favorite songs is unlike any other feeling in the world. I sometimes use music as a way of isolation and peace to try to get my mind off of whatever bad may be happening in my life at the moment, whether it be school-related, friend-related, family-related, or a plethora of other scenarios. Music as a whole has helped me get through a lot of rough situations compared to if I didn’t have the relationship with music that I have now, and I never thought an art medium such as music could do such a thing. Usually, you’ll catch me listening to rap or rock, but I’ve always had quite a liking for Frank Ocean, whose music is unlike any artist, especially the way his songs make you feel.

While there is no official ‘full performance’ recording, Frank Ocean’s performance live at Way Out West in 2017 is regarded as one of his best performances, and one of relatively few shows that he has ever done, especially one that was somewhat publicized. This performance showcased songs from his newly released album Blond in 2016. Specifically, I have chosen to center in on my favorite song off of this album, which is titled Self Control, which was performed beautifully at this venue.

            Self Control is a compelling, beautiful, emotional, and passionately written song to begin with, and this live performance emphasizes this pure, raw emotion within the carefully chosen lyrics. When I first heard the four minutes and nine seconds of this song on Spotify, the feelings I got were just amazing, and I would love to be able to listen to it for the first time once again. It is relatively toned back for the majority of the track, but the ending makes me feel like I’m transcending into the music itself…it is a feeling I truly cannot describe, unlike any other song out there. While I would’ve given up an arm and a leg to be at this performance, there still is a great feeling that the recorded performance gives off, and having the live audience sing-along for the final lines of the song just makes it that much better. It sounds almost…heavenly; and this is just the recording of the performance, I could not imagine how it was in person. The lyrical breakdown of the song holds so much meaning behind it, but the ending choruses are really my favorite part of the song.


“I, I, I know you gotta leave, leave, leave

Take down some summertime

Give up, just tonight, night, night

I, I, I, know you got someone comin’

You’re spitting game, know you got it”



Throughout the song, Frank continually describes a diminishing relationship, alluding to reasons why this relationship isn’t working out because the other figure involved is too immature. The song’s opening is said to be Frank reminiscing about events that had happened as far back as his youth, meaning this person has been in his life a long time. Seeing his true emotions pour out when he performs this song live is truly amazing. My emotional connection to this song carries on much more after I learned the true meanings of the lyrics, as I have also had people slowly fading out of my life as time goes on, with not much I can do about it. Another one of my favorite lines from the song is as follows:

“I came to visit ‘cause you see me like a UFO

That’s like never, ‘cause I made you use your self-control”


I truly encourage anyone reading to listen to this song, or the album itself, to try and understand the emotions it conveys. I have grown to learn that there is no point or reasoning to putting effort into a relationship that you can tell is falling apart, whether it be a significant other, or just a friend, if it is one-sided, that is all the information one needs to know. It’s not worth your time. In the end, everything will work itself out for better, or for worse.

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2 Responses to Benjamin Roberts Blog Post 3 – Frank Ocean’s ‘Self Control’

  1. groverma says:

    I love Frank Ocean’s album Blonde and specifically Self Control as well. His music is very captivating.

  2. downeych says:

    I love Frank’s music too and agree that Self Control is some of his best work. I like the places injected quotes in your writing, it made it very engaging.

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