What Is "Pink + White" About? The Frank Ocean Song Laments A Lost Love

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

Have you put on your sleuthing outfit yet? You know, the one you wear to help figure out the overarching theme of all of Frank Ocean's songs? Sure, it might be dusty after four years of not being used, but with Ocean's release of his album Blonde, it is more than needed. It is required, especially because of the album's intricateness and clear detail in each note and lyric. But let's narrow the focus for comprehension's sake, shall we? For this installment, let's focus just one one particularly good song, "Pink + White." But just what is Ocean's "Pink+White" about? Because it's quite heavy, and needs to be discussed.

How to start off such an analysis? Well, by looking at the source material, of course. The singer provides listeners with endless clues in his lyrics, some of which are even sung by the Queen herself, her majesty, Beyonce. Sure, she's only heard for a blink-and-miss-it moment, it but her presence makes quite the mark, regardless. She's Bey, after all. The thing is, you don't include Bey on a song that doesn't mean something. So, let's take that little factoid into consideration when taking a closer look at what the song is trying to say. As per Genius, the first verse goes:

That's the way everyday goes
Every time we have no control
If the sky is pink and white
If the ground is black and yellow
It's the same way you showed me
Nod my head, don't close my eyes
Half way on a slow move
It's the same way you showed me
If you could fly then you'd feel south
Up north's getting cold soon
The way it is, we're on land
So I'm someone to hold true
Keep you cool in this good life
Won't let you down when it's all ruined
Admittedly, that in and of itself doesn't give too much away in its abstractness. But, what I do get from it is that Ocean is speaking directly to someone, someone he is or was likely romantically involved with, judging by the intimate feel these lyrics give off. The hook certainly gives more info on the way that romantic relationship is or was directed.
Just the same way you showed me, showed me
You showed me love
Glory from above
Good Glory, dear
It's all downhill from here
The assertion that things go awry after the "glory" shows that while it may have been good between the two at some point, and the "glory" implies it was definitely really good, it clearly isn't anymore. It speaks to two people reaching a peak and subsequently falling short thereafter, every single time. Or, in terms of drugs, the inability to recreate the feel of that first time thrill under its influence. Which, as an interpretation on the Genius site points out, is exactly what the imagery is pointing at here.

The Genius contributor explains,

The track details Frank’s memory of a past lover and what Frank has learned from them. These lyrics detail an experience with drugs Frank had in the past with a former partner, the drug of choice being cocaine (pink + white = vagina and cocaine). The sky and ground are perceived differently from usual, nodding his head and keeping his eyes open to this drug-induced difference is important to Frank’s partner. The following lines about flying, letting down his partner, and everything being downhill from here refer to Frank’s impending experience with this person after the high wears off.
I mean, it does make sense. The song in and of itself is a bit confusing with all of its imagery, but when you become aware of the references he's making, it becomes clearer. This tune feels almost like a stream of nostalgic consciousness, one that seems hazy due to the aforementioned drugs. It's a sentiment that can really be seen in the following verse, more so than the rest of the song, considering the singer recalls certain memories and all of the things this person "showed" him in short, flashing spurts:
In the wake of a hurricane
Dark skin of a summer shade
Nose dive in the flood lines
Tall tower, milk crate
It's the same way you showed me
Cannon ball off the porch side
Older kids trying off the roof
Just the same way you showed me (you showed)
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 that birthed you
Gave you tools just to stay alive
And make it up when the sun is ruined
To make things a bit more concise and less metaphorical, this is a bittersweet song that feels as melancholy as it does weirdly accepting. It doesn't feel like a lament over lost love, but rather, as the Genius description insinuates, a song of remembrance of a fleeting time when perhaps the love wasn't long lasting, but affecting (like the drugs). If nothing else, the love gave the singer a chance at self-reflection. 

The outro really rounds it out,
What a life, remember how it was, climb trees, Michael Jackson, all in shit
(We've come) Say what up to Magic, just shoot
Say what up to daddy
Say what up to life, I found it
And I know what you might want to know
Run from me and your team
Still ain't grabbin six (take it easy)
Give me somethin sweet
Bitch I might bite, ain't no tellin
This is life, life immortality
"Pink + White" is no doubt a love song, but maybe one that's more about loving oneself than someone else.

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