nostalgia, ULTRA

Release date
24 Mar 2011
Running length
14 tracks
Running time
42:09

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Tracklist

    Track     Duration Listeners
1 street fighter 0:22 2,036
2 Strawberry Swing 3:55 68,115
3 Novacane 5:03 230,932
4 We All Try 2:51 66,117
5 Metal Gear Solid 0:22 96
6 Songs 4 Women 4:13 4,520
7 Lovecrimes 4:00 57,847
8 Goldeneye 0:18 1,661
9 There Will Be Tears 3:14 58,043
10 Swim Good 4:17 212,932
11 Dust 2:33 53,653
12 American Wedding 7:00 50,257
13 Soul Calibur 0:18 1,519
14 Nature Feels 3:43 55,090

About this album

Nostalgia, Ultra finds Ocean singing over a mix of original pop-leaning R&B beats courtesy of big-ticket producers like Tricky Stewart (Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”) and Midi Mafia (50 Cent’s “21 Questions”, Justin Bieber’s “Down to Earth”) as well as some eclectic remakes of songs including Coldplay’s underrated 2009 single “Strawberry Swing”, MGMT’s “Electric Feel”, and, most surprisingly, the Eagles’ “Hotel California”. Ocean’s experience within the major-label hit machine comes through— his casually hook-y voice is akin to Usher or Jamie Foxx’s, and at least three of the album’s songs could (and should) slot in comfortably on a R&B or even Top 40 radio station near you any day now. There are distinct elements of Drake’s melancholic paranoia and The-Dream’s high melodrama, too. But there’s also a heady surreality surrounding Nostalgia, Ultra that makes it unique. The cover— showing a bright orange early-1980s BMW E30 M3 (Ocean’s “dream car”) hidden in plain sight amidst lush greenery— is perfectly indicative of what’s inside.

The record is held together by tiny interludes named after 1990s video games in which the unmistakable sounds of a cassette player rewinding, fast-forwarding, and stopping are heard. The old-school touch lends Nostalgia, Ultra the feel of a personal, friend-to-friend mixtape rather than one made by a name-dropping hip-hop DJ.

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