Who Is "Self Control" About? The Frank Ocean Breakup Ballad Is Heartbreaking

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 14: Artist Frank Ocean performs during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 14, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Source: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

After what felt like the longest wait for an album in all of music history, Frank Ocean's Blonde is finally here, and oh, was it worth it. Blonde is a sprawling 17-track record that tackles everything from romance to drug abuse, and it features cameos from Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, and more. Basically, it's a must-listen for fans of Ocean, especially for the songs that show off the singer's vulnerable side, like "Self Control." It's not exactly clear who Ocean's "Self Control" is about, but the song, the seventh one in the tracklist, is one of the most heartbreaking tunes on the entire album.

The song starts off pretty explicitly — "I'll be the boyfriend in your wet dreams," Ocean sings towards the beginning — but soon, it becomes clear that it's meant to be more of a ballad lamenting a break-up. "Wish I was there, wish we had grown up on the same advice / and our time was right," Ocean sings. It seems clear, at first, that whoever the star is singing about is a person who has broken his heart and is moving on with someone else. Just look at this sad lyric — "Keep a place for me, for me / I'll sleep between y'all, it's nothing."

But just who is Ocean actually singing about? No person is named in the track, so it can be assumed that the song's subject is simply an ex, or perhaps a conglomeration of several exes. The themes of the song — love, longing, heartbreak — are so universal tha it's very possible Ocean isn't singing about one person in particular, but about the general feeling of having to say goodbye to someone he was once close with. 

Regardless of who the song's subject might be, though, there's no question that "Self Control" is one of the most moving songs on Blonde. Lyrics like "I, I, I know you gotta leave, leave leave / take down some summer time / give up, just tonight, night night," when sung by Ocean, are truly heartbreaking, and anyone who's experienced a break-up or sudden goodbye will certainly find the song resonating hard.

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