Song of the Week: 3.21.20

(“Song of the Week” is a now-discontinued series in which SW contributor Yukino gave weekly rundowns on tracks. In this installation, Yukino takes us deeper into Frank Oceans “Moon River” (2018)).


Moon river is a song written by Johnny Mercer and composed by Henry Mancini in the 1960s. Audiences first heard it as performed by Audrey Hepbum in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s; it was meant to be nothing but mere background music. The song, however, gained critical acclaim in spite of its original purpose, winning both a Grammy and an Academy award for its passionate yet simple lyrics. In 2018, Frank Ocean decided to put his spin on the song, adding his iconic high pitched vocals and a different analysis of its words: Now, he portrayed the moon’s reflection upon a river as an analogy for the journey of two lovers to understand one another. Many have made covers of the original; but, few have achieved the success of Frank – effectively making the song his own.

Personally speaking, ever since I was introduced to Frank Ocean, I have had a deep eccentric connection to his music, whether it be the energetic Channel Orange or its melancholic counterpart, Blonde. I had always seen this song in his discography and ignored it until recently hearing it – I was introduced to his paradigmatic high pitched voice along with saddening vocals that all fit together to emphasize the theory of struggle. Listening more intensely, you hear a symphony of high notes and synth sounds which symbolize his journey in crossing the “moon river” to transcend the fine line in getting to know someone. You will never truly understand a person until you cross this fine line, which in this instance is the alluring reflection of the moon in the water.