Frank Ocean’s “Moon River” Lyrics Meaning

This is the cover of a classic song which originally came out in 1961, with the lyrics being by and large identical.  They are actually based on the childhood memories of one of its writers, Johnny Mercer, with Moon River being an actual water body where he grew up in Savannah, Georgia. However, in general, as in the case of Ocean’s rendition, it reads a lot like an inspirational track or that perhaps he is addressing a lover.

What is clear is that a close associate of the singer, who he refers to as his “friend”, does play a role.  This is an individual who he seemingly shares similar ambitions with, as they are “chasing after all the same”. 

What also seems apparent is that the Moon River fills him with a sense of hope, as in making him fantasize about “crossing (it) in style someday” and going “off to see the world”. So from Frank Ocean’s view, the “moon river” does not seem like a physical location at all. Rather it is used more as a symbol for his aspirations in life, alongside his companion who also plays a prominent role in the song.

Moon River lyrics

Facts about “Moon River”

  • Frank Ocean has stated that his rendition of this track is amongst his personal favorites of all the covers he has ever performed.
  • Artists who covered “Moon River” prior to Ocean include Elton John, Rod Stewart and Aretha Franklin.
  • Ocean produced his rendition of “Moon River” and also received writing credits for it alongside the track’s original writer and composer, respectively Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini.
  • Ocean’s version of this classic, which came out on Valentine’s Day 2018, made its way onto a movie soundtrack – that of Netflix’s “Someone Great” (2019), where it should be noted that the song is used in a romantic context.

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