Album: Channel Orange
Producer: Frank Ocean, John Mayer
Label: Odd Future, Def Jam
Sometimes it feels like Frank Ocean doesn't even mean to make all these hits. Last year's "Novacane" sounded unlike any R&B song on the radio, but it still became one of the biggest songs of the year. Ocean originally recorded "Thinking About You" as a reference track for Bridget Kelly, but his version is the one that's still being played in bedrooms.
But it would be a disservice to list "Pyramids" as a case of accidental genius. It takes a specific type of focus (and genius) to be able to make a song this epic. Switching from adventurous synths and keys to the late-night grime, this 9:57 masterpiece remains entrancing throughout. Ocean reaches peaks both vocally and lyrically as he weaves his tragic tale of beauty and loss. John Mayer ends the other-worldly song with a world-weary guitar solo.