Frank Ocean 500

Frank Ocean’s ‘Pyramids’ Video: Strippers, Shots and John Mayer

It has certainly been a busy weekend for Frank Ocean. The video for the Channel Orange favorite “Pyramids” debuted after his stellar performance on SNL with John Mayer (his unlikely accomplice, with whom he also performed the Sade-esque “Thinking About You”). As expected with all Nabil-directed projects of late, the video does not disappoint. The man behind interesting visual treatments for G.O.O.D. Music and Bon Iver has definitely been on fire.

The clip begins with a mystery man downing shot after shot of liquor at  bar and firing shots at bottles. A very inebriated Frank makes his way into the rain to his parked BMW motorcycle. From then on, Frank rides through the desert towards a pyramid in the distance. The music itself starts about halfway through the song, straight into the second part of it, showing him for some time just riding with some loopy visual effects going on around him. From that point on, the video moves to the inside of a strip club, and a waaaaasted looking Frank is just looking at the debauchery around him, switching from looking rather catatonic to laughing hysterically. Nabil uses effects to distort Frank’s face  and the faces of some some of the strippers, giving them demonic appearances (reminiscent of The Devil’s Advocate and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk ‘Til Dawn). So far so good.

Once the guitar part starts, the video takes a surprising turn. Motorcycle-riding Frank ends up in front of a neon pyramid and John Mayer steps out from behind it and plays the sulky guitar bridge. It being 2012 and all, one would have thought that the Mayer cameo might have been more in tongue-in-cheek, but instead the camera focuses on him in the neon glow playing away on his guitar. The video ends with Frank walking in the desert towards a celestially illuminated pyramid in the distance in broad daylight.
A few mishaps aside, Nabil has created a great atmosphere that channels the mood of the song extremely well, and of course uses high quality video effects that help to capture the sadness/loneliness of the track.

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