The two songs I would like to investigate are Chanel by Frank Ocean and Girls by girl in red. Frank Ocean was the first queer rapper I had ever heard of.  In July of 2012, the month Frank Ocean came out, I was in a Sally’s Beauty Supply listening to the DJ’s talk about this upcoming rapper’s letter to his fans in which he expressed his sexual identity.  Frank Ocean is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, photographer, and visual artist.  Chanel was released by Frank Ocean March 10, 2017 and quickly received praise for its lyrics and was in line with Ocean’s complex songs put to relaxing beats.  This song intrigues me because, though Frank has been open with his sexuality as a person, it is present less in his music, often focusing on heterosexual relationships.  The social justice issue Frank Ocean is raising in this homosexuality and is one of the most widely known artists that are actively working against a homophobic stigma in rap music.  There has been a lot of attention on Frank Ocean since he came out in 2012, but the challenge with this song is unpacking all of the messages Ocean puts in his songs; each few lines are hefty with references.

Girl in red is a Norwegian singer-songwriter named Marie Ulven Ringheim.  Girls by girl in red is about Marie’s expression of her sexuality and the difficulties that come with it.  This song was released on June 8, 2018, but has received more attention in the past year with it’s popularity on TikTok, where I personally learned of girl in red.  This song, along with many of girl in red’s, makes you want to jump around the room at dusk.  This song became an anthem for young lesbians online and I’m really interested to know more about Marie’s journey with her own sexuality, and how that parallels with Norway’s views.  I don’t know much about Norway, and know even little about the experiences a queer person would face in a different country.  I think the lyrics for this song are straight forward, but the ability to relate to so many people across the world, and how girl in red view’s her success in this song, would make it challenging.  Girls focuses on attraction to the same sex, and how and who the singer can be open with.

These songs will lead me to look more into LGBTQ+ rights in these artists’ countries, what it means to be an ally (I want my delivery on the podcast to support and appreciate queer identities and culture), and how their songs and themselves as artists have been accepted and/or represented by the LGBTQ+ community globally.  I have an idea what these songs mean to me and how they make me feel, but I want to learn what these songs mean to people who can personally relate to their lyrics more, and more insight on the struggles of discovering one’s sexual identity and how people translate that, even if they will not be accepted. Girl in red’s genre is alternative/indie and is considered on some online forums as lesbian indie rock.  I have always loved indie genres and I definitely think girl in red fits the indie/alternative rockish sound that is being produced.  From my understanding of relative artists, they don’t product protest music, but rely heavily on their emotions and experiences to produce songs, that can become anthems for social and cultural groups.  Girls definitely has the guitar pop rock vibe of indie and alternative music, with edgier and deeper vocal tones, making for a fun contrast between vocals and instrumentals.

Frank Ocean’s genre is considered Neo Soul, which is a style of music that emerged from soul and contemporary R&B.  I don’t know a lot specifically about the genre, so I am looking forward to learning more about what this genre means and what the artists in this genre produced to have a better understanding of how Frank Ocean’s music fits into this.  From my brief review of other artists in this genre, they have produced some songs that bring attention to social issues, but I wouldn’t considered these artists as “protest” artists.  There were some strides in 2016 for LGBTQ+ rights, and in 2016 Frank Ocean released his visual album Endless, but beyond that there weren’t many easy reasons to find for this song’s release in relation to his social, political, or personal life, but I do believe an inspection of his history in music and personality would help further explain his reasoning’s for this song’s release.

I am a big fan of Frank Ocean, and Chanel is a not only an example of how phenomenal a creator Ocean is, but also relates to him personally, which is one of my favorite aspects of songs.  Like girl in red, both artists have songs that are facets of their personality and identity, and diving further into personal meaning in songs related to the musicological techniques chosen is something I enjoy learning.  Throughout the summer, I spent a lot of time listening to girl in red and even on songs with sadder meanings, her music gives off fun vibes that deserve to be played under the sun.  Frank Ocean’s Chanel is a much more laid back, night time hangout kind of song.  I don’t know which song I would prefer to spend 10 weeks listening to; I think Chanel is lyrically more in depth and would provide more to research on the song, but Girls is way more fun and would provide more ability for background research.  My concerns for this project is having enough material for the podcast.  I have struggled a lot choosing songs for this proposal and I feel like I would never be done searching for the perfect song.  I hope to have enough time to make this podcast the best, but am really nervous about recording and producing this podcast.  This is something I have never done before and though I am excited, I am nervous too.