« Dissect

S3E10 - Pink + White by Frank Ocean

2018-07-31

We dissect "Pink + White" by Frank Ocean, a beautiful, mosaic-like remembrance of childhood. Listen to Dissect on Spotify and get episodes a week before all other platforms and exclusive bonus episodes. Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
From spotify studios, this is dissect long musical analysis broken into short digestible episodes. I'm your host call because today continue our serializable examination of blonde by frank ocean on earth episode. Would I did the album second track. Ivy there we heard sentimental ode to a failed relationship. Do the passing of time in deep introspection, frank was able commemorate the positive moments of their time together, rather dwell on immortalized the negative. This thread commemoration and acceptance continues on the album's next track. The subject of today's episode pink,
why this guy? If the ground is lacking in pink and white, was written in by frank ocean and pharrell williams, the song string. Arrangements are credited to john bryant and benjamin right, while backing vocals are provided fiance, pink and white is posted a six eight time signature, giving the track swinging sing song quality. Well, it's one of the commonly used time signatures. You don't often hear contempt, free pop songs in six eight time. So I think now is a good opportunity to take a brief trip back in time to explain this fundamental compositional tool, all
right, no them You're. Hearing right now is typical of the medieval period in history that between the years. Five hundred and fourteen hundred eighty, the earliest music of this period, was modify. That is a single melody without accompaniment. At this time, notation in the west didn't exist and melon we're taught orally passed on from one singer to the next. Relying on this oral tradition became limiting, as roman churches sought to standardize church melodies across vast distances to a the standardization of these monophonic melodies dots were crudely written about the words placed higher or lower to indicate if the pitch was to be sung higher or lower. Does the this iterations of what would become our musical notation system was born? This base notation system developed over time as music became more complex. More sophisticated notation tools were required, specific,
the as music move from monophonic melody sung by one person to polyphonic melody, sung, multiple singers and later instrumental accompaniment rhythm, because increasingly important as musicians needed to stay together in order to keep the peace from falling apart, century, the first western rhythmic notation system was developed, called rhythmic boats like the foundation of what would become our modern notation system, rhythmic modes, you, the physical space between notes, to indicate how long or short a note was to be played by the 14th century. This evolved into a much accurate and dependable system called men notation here. No cells are expressed with different symbols. That indicated the duration of that note. This sister
eventually birth. The measure separated by local bar lines on a musical staff. I met, organizes a piece of music in small sections, with each mesh containing a certain number of beats. A time signature expressed at the beginning of a piece of music tells us how many beats are contained in one measure of a particular piece of music. Today, the most common time signature in western popular music is written in, what's called for. For time meeting there for quarter note beats per measure. So when you hear musicians counting one two, three four then starting over one two, three, four, the counting the needs of one measure in four four time, then, moving on to the next measure, starting the one two three four count over piece of music is organized and measures, and these measures are form, literally to create a composition or song. Now I know this is a lot to throw at you at one time, but the
cool thing about all this is that you actually know these things quite well to prove this. Let's hear a few examples. First we'll send the brandenburg concerto number three in g, major written by johann sebastian bach in one thousand, seven hundred and twenty one as the peace plays, are count along for four measures. and I want you to join in as I'm counting, then I'm going to stop for two measures, but I want you to continue counting they come back in and if you- and I are synced you'll know that you counted correctly in my absence. Okay, ready count along with me one two, three four one: two three hundred and forty one million two hundred and thirty, four thousand one hundred and twenty three forty one thousand two hundred and thirty, four one, two three One two: three: four: okay, so where we in sync, when I came back in I'm guessing for most
view, the answer is: yes, let's try another, but this time I'm going take two measures with you. You keep I, when I stop now join back in after a while. Again, if think, when I come back in, you know, you counted correctly in my absence, one two, three, four one, two, three, four one, two, three, four one, two, three, four one, two, three four! So how do you do again for most of you, I'm going to assume you did it correctly? These rhythms of patterns are so culturally ingrained in all of us that even those with no musical training or able to do this exercise somewhat easily. I want might seem second nature to you. This is actually the
credibly complex rhythmic system that took hundreds of years to develop and mature is the reason took the time to outline its lengthy development at the beginning of the sidebar. There's a medical history behind what we take for granted every day okay. So now that you're feeling, like the second coming of mozart, make it a little more challenging, like I said earlier, most of popular western music, you listen to every- is written in four four time for quarter. Note beats per measure, but that's just way to divide up time. Let's hear a few more will start with a generic polls. Each click- your hearing represents a new measure now, let's chop up the time between each click or differently, that is different time signatures to organize that space and time. Let's start with what you know, four four time: four quarter notes to divide the time between each bar, one hundred and twenty three billion four hundred and twelve million three hundred and forty one thousand two hundred and thirty four
next try three four time that is three quarter notes to divide the time between each bar, twelve billion three hundred and twelve million three hundred and twelve thousand three hundred and twelve free. Next, let's try six eight time, that is six eighth notes per measure, one hundred and twenty three quintillion four hundred and fifty six quadrillion one hundred and twenty three trillion four hundred and fifty six billion one hundred and twenty three million four hundred and fifty six thousand one hundred and twenty three four hundred and fifty six ok. So now for something a little more complex and unusual, five, four time, five quarter notes per measure; one hundred and twenty three quadrillion, four hundred and fifty one trillion two hundred and thirty four billion five hundred and twelve million three hundred and forty five thousand one hundred and twenty three
four five. Now I mix it up and change the time signature at random, while maintaining that same overall pulls one two, three, four one, two, three, four one, two, three, four one, two, three, four one, two, three, four, five, six one, two, three, four: five, six one, two, three, four: five one, two, three, four: five one, two three one: two three: four one hundred and twenty three billion; four hundred and fifty six million one hundred and twenty three thousand four hundred and fifty six did you notice how, with each time signature came a different feeling or groove eva the overall poll stayed the same. The way we chop up or the time has an incredible impact on the overall physicality of that time. This is the beauty of time signatures. You one comes with its own identity. You don't its own unique interpretation of time now, let's hope in on six eight time that six eighth notes per measure, one sextillion two hundred and thirty four quintillion five hundred and sixty one quadrillion, two hundred and thirty four trillion: five hundred and sixty one billion two hundred and thirty four million five hundred and sixty one thousand two hundred and thirty four
fifty six notice how the groove kind of swings back and forth that's six. Eight signature swing, it's often use in and poke this, probably more relevant to you than a jig is six hundred use and some of history's greatest pop ballads, especially pop the 1960s and 70s. Let's hear james brown, one thousand nine hundred and sixty six hit it's a advance man's world, written in six, eight Four, five, six, one, two, three, four, five, six one, two, three, four: five! Six
now otis redding's pain in my heart from nineteen sixty four pain in my old twelve billion three hundred and forty five million three hundred and twenty three thousand four hundred and fifty six and
the beatles oh darling in nineteen, sixty nine one, one, four six one, even queen stadium rock ballad, we are the champions, is rated six eight time one one! One four five, and so, while less common in four four time six, it certainly has its place and temporary music, including, of course, the to cover episode today, pink and white by frank ocean as they play. This excerpt see if you can find a along two at six eight time signature
day, one hundred and twenty three billion four hundred and fifty six million one hundred and twenty three thousand four hundred and fifty six cecily every day goes every time we will control. If the sky is pankin wil, if the ground, could you find it? Let's isolate the drums and try again one hundred and twenty three billion four hundred and fifty six million one hundred and twenty three thousand four hundred and fifty six got it pretty cool right. You can now count a pretty complex time. Signature. Next time you listen to the song with a friend. You can give an unwanted historical lesson about the evolution of rhythm, beginning with medieval music and ending with the grandpa. Have you counting six eight time along to pink and white and after our next segment,
you'll also be able to explain the concept of a trill and it's mental musical technique, utilizing pink and whites opening moments? Let's have a listen for for biased section. This introductory half measure. Utilizes, the trill, a technique that finds musicians oscillating quickly between two notes, a half step apart. why the musicians trill trail between the notes ian now played a little faster sure faster. The effect in the opening of pink and white is accentuated by combining the trail with the dynamic technique called crescendo that is moving from quiet to loud, a swell of sound that helps add dramatic tension trails immediately, followed by pink and whites main musical material. We are heard the song's main drum pattern, which you know is play
six slash eight time next in our pg baseline, is added outlining the songs, three descending chords. An electric pianos gently placed atop the base grounding the underlying harmony c, major, seven b, minor, seven, a major seven, Finally, we have the reverb heavy piano. The drums,
electric keys and piano comprise a basic musical elements over which frank delivers a heartfelt opening verse, a verse with really dissect right after the break Today's episode of dissect is brought to you by sonos research, the sonos added a brand new product to their home, sound system family. It's called beam. The compact sound bar for your tv great for a size rooms in tv's. The b is amazon, alexa enabled for easy voice, control and delivers crystal richly detailed, sound for movies, shows and video games, plus music, podcasts and more it's got pretty cool built in settings like speech, enhancement that adds clarity to dialogue and it sound mode that allows you enjoy late night tv without waking, the whole house and, what's more sonos beam is only three hundred and ninety nine boulder, sound and larger rooms. Saunas also has played bar play bass
order, sonus beam now at sonos, dot, com and start home sound system. Today welcome back to dissect. Before the break we outlined the basic elements that comprise pink and whites musical foundation. Frank enters the track with a few ad libs, followed by the songs, inverse that's the way. Everything goes every time we will control if the sky is breaking while if the ground is black and yellow is the same way, you showed me at my head I'll call my eyes pathway, also more. It's the same way and show me frank, begins verse. That's the every day goes every time we no control if the sky is pink and white, if the ground is black and yellow
these opening lines outline the philosophy to be explored throughout the song, our general lack of control in life and learning to accept and find beauty in life regardless here frank outlines this concept using the colors of a sunset, pink and white, what seems to be a paved road, black and yellow eyes, and black asphalt and yellow dividing lines? We have no control over these things. The does colors exist without our permission, the majority of we're pay before we are born. For the most part, the earth, by nature and by man, is a force to powerful and well established to be easily altered. Extension. The circumstances of our lives in the relationships that within our also difficult to control, and it could be arg. That we're all just playing at a script dictated by history, circumstance, genetics and environment as a verse continues. We hear the songs made refrain It's the same way, you showed me Here we realize a lesson frank learned in will expressed throughout the song with the teachings of someone, though it's currently unclear, who
person is the verse continues nod my head. Don't close my eyes, not in one ted, is an affirmative gesture. something one does when saying yes, don't close, my I seems to apply commitment to see the world as it truly is, to relinquish control and accept the way things are. Hiding ones is the dying or being blind to the world's realities living in ignorance or false truths. It calls to mind the line from the beatles strawberry fields forever, in which john lennon sings living is easy with eyes closed, while a life into the harsh realities of the world may be more difficult. It's a more authentic and true the way to live with the help of the song muse frank seems to be attempting to do just that, while also saying yes or remaining affirmative to things experiences and opportunities around him. The calls to mind a quote from an essay frank wrote for id. Vice quote you can answer. A lot of questions with s. You can answer many more with. No, no is
the mill. Yes, is a gem unquote frank includes verse by repeating the songs. Warframe refrain, followed by a play. The migration of birds is the same way. You show me if you could fly, then you still sell up north schedule floor soon, but wet is where on land. So I have someone or true keep it cool in the cell alive or let you down a sore or just the same wave shall shall frank sings same way. You showed me if you could fly, then you feel south up north getting cold soon, lying is often romanticized in desired. The free points out that even flying has its downside, namely the long migration sub birds undertake flying south to escape the cold weather in the n.
But with the addition of the next lines, we might suspect this bird metaphor relates to their relationship, frank sings. The way it is we're still on land. Still, I'm someone to hold true keep you cool when it's still alive. Won't, let you down when it's all ruined it's possible, that it's reference in the This is the health of the relationship. Frank will cherish the moments there together, but won't hold a grudge when this person had s or abandoned their relationship again, like the versus first half frank, is learn. Acceptance of the things he can't control through this relationship. Unless that he's then able to apply and other things in his life, pink and white continues with the songs hook
show up is same way, you showed me, you showed me love glory from above regard, my dear it's all downhill from here. The song so continues the philosophy establishing the song first verse, franks lover showed him accepted things out of his control, which ironically includes the end of the relationship, but just like the alps previous song, I've frank- is able to cherish and commemorate the highs and the good that came from the relationship. This person taught about the world about love about tolerance there, it's all downhill from here,
frank, is still able to reflect positively on the experience we Consider the alternative interpretation of it's all downhill from here as it easily coasting downhill on a bicycle. That is the difficult uphill climb is over, and it's easy going from here on out. If this was the intention of this, We might speculate that because he was shown love and acceptance. He can now continue in life. Finding peace, despite whatever conflicts or circumstances, might come his way, rather than futilely fighting them, which would be an battle after the songs hook, pink and white abruptly shifts musical environment well, the drug. To maintain the same pattern. Additional percussive elements are added with conga drums.
The electric bass guitars replaced with the stand that may the harmonic foundation first played by the electric keyboard is replaced with an airy acoustic guitar. This abrupt shift in musical mateer. You will become a reoccurring technique employed throughout blood. We already expect disable shift at the opening track. Nikes has its first half shifted from a keyboard to a
tara. What you guys try to sign, let you guys we will see the first now look to the is called transition of pink and white, followed by the song. Second verse in the lake cover k, dark skin, never sell. Mache knows dab in the flatline tall tower milk. Raise is the same way and showing me cannon ball after too much sad. All the kids shine off the rules just the same way and show me the shot. Frank begins, verse two in the wake of a hurricane, dark skin of a summer, shade here, frank evokes images
summer and his childhood in new orleans, an area known for hurricanes, rather than express the tragedy of such hurricanes. Frank chooses instead to focus on some of the good memories that were born from the storms. He sings nose dive in the flood lines, tall tower of milk crates, cannonball off the port side old. kids trying off the roof. This scene is strikingly similar to and most likely, based on, frank's earliest memory of a flood, as outlined in an interview he did with wax. Poetics quote I remember the first flood ever experienced. I was little, maybe like six, the flooded probably to inches underneath the threshold of our door, so it didn't get into the house. So I was like three feet of water, my cousins and I stack up milk crates and we're using it as diving boards into the flood waters. We were doing that. Day until one of my neighbors came out there with a little swamp style boat and grab a water moccasin out of the water and cut its head off against the fence,
That was the last time I saw women in the flood waters. I think that was my earliest memory of something that was really a part of new orleans culture. I consider hurricanes to be part of new orleans culture in this weird way. A quote The second verse concludes with another repetition of the songs were followed by a wide angle. You have the philosophy being presented throughout the track just the same way and shove it shove you could die in combat exercise, upper air from the swimming pool in kneel down to the trial and kiss the earth at birth. You gave you too sister stay alive and make it up when the sun is roy, that the same way you shall he shall frank sings if you could die and come back to life up for air from the swimming pool you kneel down to the dry land kiss the earth at birth due it's unclear. Whether frank is talking specifically about a friend who died by drowning in a swimming pool or flood water,
or, if he's talking more generally, about death either way. The sentiment seems to be that with death comes in appreciation of life, a realization, a reminder that our time on earth is fleeting and ever precious that we should share. Sure moments here be thankful to the earth for birthing us providing such a beautiful playground on which to live. The verse comes to a close with the lie, give you tools just to stay alive and make it out when the sun is rude. Given that the versus centered around his childhood in new orleans, we might suspect these concluding lies to be about his mother or perhaps is deceased grandfather that helped raise him specifically. Regarding his grandfather, frank told gq quote he didn't speak a terrible amount, but you could tell there is a ton on his mind, like a quiet acceptance of how life turned out a quote. In a song that speaks of acceptance and tolerance, the sentiment regarding his grand father seems to have relevance here on pink and white after a repetition of the song took pink and white ends with an out show that features back.
My fiance free continues as the stars like reflections of youth singing. Remember life remember how it was climb. Trees, michael jackson, it ends here. This latter line is especially potent michael jackson, a global superstar,
kids, frank's h, idolized growing up was known to climb trees as an adult and write songs in his tree house he's also for pursuing the childhood. He never had. Building the elaborate neverland theme park. Regularly hanging out with young kids saying it all ends here seems to be a statement regarding life after childhood, that the realities of adulthood find us chasing and remembering the innocence of freedom of our youth as it sharply contrasts with the pressures and complications of adulthood. Michael j Jackson becomes both an iconic symbol of frank's youth and also a symbol of this endless chase. To return to the carelessness of childhood. Continue, shouting out, matthew, danny and shoot kids, we might suspect. Frank grew up with. He then follows with a few brief impressionistic images of his youth. Bending up, my nikes refers to the crease and leather nike shoes. One gets with age or physical activity, not He is also the greek goddess of victory and frank uses, this alternative meeting to lead to the next line running out the mail. For me, the is.
greek goddess of tragedy, it would seem frank, is juxtaposing victory and tragedy and, by extension, life and death, Tying nicely in the song's overall messaging frank falls with the line: nicotine, stealing granny, cigs another sketch of common juvenile behavior. Finally, song ends with frank, saying: give me something sweet bitch I might like immortality. This is life life immortality It mortality is a scary thought to someone who constantly suffers, but given frank's, newfound acceptance of life and it's events both good and bad. He seems now to be ok with the thought of living forever. Thanks to a past lover, his grand father and or his mother he's learned that tolerance is bullet. Proof that by relinquishing the attempt of controlling the uncontrollable. What can move through life with the ability to withstand conflict in misfortune? Finding beauty, despite lice many hardships? Also it's possible that frank here is referring to memory as a kind of immortality that the childhood impressions is shared throughout the song gain kind of death
This as their immortalized his mind conclusion just like blinds previous track iv. Pink and white dystology recollection of frank's personal history is texture with philosophical, once an introspective wisdom. Just beneath the surface of it, seemingly simple, impressionistic lyricism. This will become an approach, will see time and again, as we continue our analysis of blood. As frank stated, one is autobiographical and his memories of the past formed by his present, that is, with reflection in maturation, frank able to share those memories with concision using to illustrate a life lesson or general philosophy, heat game from those experiences on pink and white: frank is an understanding that, with acceptance and relinquishing of control, comes quality in a general gratitude toward life and its dynamic experiences. Despite the, when do we have exploding sun in the downhill
death where nature of our life, as we age he's, quote remembering my remembering how it was finally, on his childhood in new orleans, diving into waters, climbing trees, stealing cigarettes, just nike and ivy franks lyrics our second checked in a way that portrays how we remember, because the food ography you ever mine, is a mosaic of abstract imagery. Hazy yet vivid, can positive emotion in slow motion images stored in the hard drive never mind. This mosaic approach to memory will continue even more explicitly as the album is into its next song have get driven rumination on loneliness and freedom called solo. A song is there discuss next time on days, dissect dissected produced by me additional me additional projects or by spotify's michelle santucci, are
see music by bureaucratic, saw recreation by andrew atwood. Remember when you listen to dissect on spotify you'll get episodes a week before all other platforms, as well as access exclusive bonus. Episodes only available on spotify follow at dice. Podcast on twitter and instagram join our mailing list: dissect podcast, dot com; okay, thanks everyone I'll talk to you next week,.