As if there weren’t enough going on Sunday night already — between the VMAs, “Game of Thrones” and, oh yeah, a cataclysmic flood in our country’s fourth-largest city — Frank Ocean suddenly popped up with a surprise episode of his Beats 1 radio show “Blonded Radio,” debuting a brand-new song called “Provider.”
The song comes with a hilarious lyric video (apparently unshare-able) on his website that begins with a guy in an appliance shop opening a vintage old-school beatbox — and then supercharging it with giant speakers. The video and the song are loaded with puzzling references: The lyrics include a mention legendary electronic-music iconoclast Richard D. James (“Stiff smile like I’m Aphex Twin,” complete with a reference to one of his songs, “Come to Daddy”) as well as Talking Heads and Stanley Kubrick; the door to the appliance store says “This is not a pipe bomb” (a twist on Belgian painter Rene Magritte’s 1929 painting “The Treachery of Images (This Is Not a Pipe)”; the lyrics to the song appear at the bottom of the video with a Hello Kitty head acting as a bouncing ball, as Ocean displayed on video screens during a recent European concert.
“Provider” also continues Ocean’s completely self-determined approach to releasing music, whenever he feels like it, premiering on his radio show. “Blonded” has also debuted his “Biking (Solo)” and “RAF,” a collaboration with A$AP Rocky. He performed a handful of concerts over the summer, including shows in New York and Los Angeles that were filmed by Spike Jonze and met with rapturous response from the audiences.