Arlo Parks has covered Frank Ocean’s ‘Ivy’, the second track on his groundbreaking second studio LP Blonde. Parks performed the cover on Radio 1’s Chillest Show accompanied by only a piano her voice.
The sparse cover, which turns the guitar strummed effects-laden slow burn of the original song into an intimate ballad that highlights the aching longing of Ocean’s lyrics, comes as a bit of a left turn for Parks, who previously favoured dry rhythmic thumps like the kind you would find on ‘Cola’ and ‘Caroline’.
Earlier this year saw the release of Park’s fantastic debut album Collapsed Into Sunbeams. That LP, full of funky, smooth R&B tracks like ‘Eugene’, ‘Green Eyes’, and ‘Too Good’, firmly established Parks as one of the most kinetic young performers working in music today. While most of the album’s tunes fall into that laid back groove, ‘For Violet’ showed Parks bringing the tempo down to something closer to a more traditional slow song. Parks’ lyrical style is similar to Ocean’s: personal, intricately detailed, and sometimes so heartbreaking that they’re easy to miss among the intricate arrangements and gorgeous vocals.
Ocean, meanwhile, has been his elusive self over the past few months. ‘Cayendo’ and ‘Dear April’ were released at the tail end of 2020, and any new music is welcome from the former Odd Future member, but they admittedly felt like lesser works. Low key and lo-fi, the two tracks dispelled the notion that Ocean is a tireless perfectionist who toils day in and day out over the course of years to make every last note have the perfect resonance. Instead, he’s just a damn good artist who can put out damn good material anytime he wants. If that’s so-called “myth breaking”, it’s only because Ocean’s reputation has greatly proceeded him by this point.
Check out Park’s cover of ‘Ivy’ down, below.