Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange is littered with double meanings. His lyricism forces the listener to look hard, read between the lines, and dredge up the deeper meaning behind the tracks. A track titled ‘Super Rich Kids’ may seem fairly straightforward but there’s so much more
lurking beneath the surface, making the track as fascinating as it is harrowing. In its most basic form, Ocean is skewering the rich lifestyle. Despite being in the transparent upper echelons of the class system, the hollowness that Ocean exposes transforms the rich and famous into an equally deprived subterranean of his native LA, dwelling further down with the poor and unfortunate.
‘Ocean and Sweatshirt chastise the numbness of the upper classes but they have more in common than they originally thought’
Ocean delivers his indictment exhaustedly, venturing into his trademark warble sporadically, over a stabbing piano chord structure. An undercurrent of bass wanders in and out of the picture before Earl Sweatshirt appears for a somehow more careless cameo later in the track. As casual as Earl sounds on verse, it’s his final two lines that leave a lasting impression. ‘Don’t believe us/Treat us like we can’t erupt,’ he spits daringly. Ocean and Sweatshirt chastise the numbness of the upper classes but they have more in common than they originally thought. No matter how big the chasm is between our bank accounts, like the rest of us, these rich kids can’t buy happiness.
Ocean is the ultimate observer right now, applying place to his music like no other. Many tracks on Channel Orange benefit from that detail but ‘Super Rich Kids’ is perhaps the biggest winner in that regards. More than just helping the listener see beyond the flashy cars, escalating credit card bills, and endless lines of cocaine, Ocean helps the rich kids see what they refuse to; that there’s more to savour than the dullness of that silver spoon.
Image courtesy of genius.com