Frank Ocean & SZA: Nine simping songs to help you get over someone you dated in your head

In Arts & Entertainment, Lifestyle, Music
Frank Ocean covers his face with his hand
Courtesy of Def Jam Records

There are many reasons for simping, or getting caught “in your feelings,” as defined by Urban Dictionary.

Whether you’re getting over an imaginary relationship with a complete stranger over Instagram, or you’ve simply realized men are trash, there’s a song out there to help facilitate the processing of any difficult emotion.

But it’s unclear whether or not simping is actually healthy, or if listening to sad music (that also slaps) purely for the sake of being sad might in fact be detrimental to your emotional well being.

Regardless, here’s a collection of songs by artists like SZA and Frank Ocean to keep the tears flowing for all of your simping needs.

Note: some of the songs in this list are available only on SoundCloud, and are not available on mobile streaming services. Whatever way you manage to download those to your phone, everybody reading this is probably too depressed to judge you.


Released by Top Dawg Entertainment on SoundCloud in early 2017, “twoAM” served as a proper introduction to the confident and emotionally misaligned rhythm and blues siren Solana Rowe, or better known by her nom de plume, SZA.

The track showed how 2017 SZA sounded much different than the soft-spoken, impressionist vocalist on her 2014 EP “Z,” and provided proper insight into how her now-acclaimed debut album “Ctrl” would sound later that year.

The euphoric harmonizing and sashaying vulnerability on the track, which is a rendition of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s “Come and See Me,” does well to tell the story of a woman in a friends with benefits relationship who yearns for a more meaningful connection with her partner, but also doesn’t mind if her partner sees nothing more to the relationship than just fun, as long as she (literally) comes first.

Nikes – Frank Ocean

The song “Nikes” was one of the breaks in R&B singer Frank Ocean’s years-long absence from the spotlight, following the release of his critically-acclaimed debut album “Channel Orange” in 2012.

In the first half of the track, which is the only single off Ocean’s 2016 album “Blonde,” Ocean details a relationship from the perspective of a lovestruck girl who finds herself content with a man who doesn’t care for her emotionally, but instead cares for her financially.

In the second half of the track, Ocean sings of loving someone regardless of their age and committed relationship status: “I’m not him, but I’ll mean something to you.”

Morning View – Towkio (feat. SZA)

While the track technically belongs to hip-hop artist Towkio’s debut 2018 album “WWW.,” “Morning View” truly belongs to its featured artist, SZA.

The glory of waking up next to the one you love in the morning, and the sense of loss felt by no longer having that privilege, are feelings fully encapsulated by SZA’s delivery over the quaint strums of a guitar, which more than makes up for Towkio’s uncreative and spectacularly mediocre verse that opens the song.

Just Sayin/I Tried – The Internet

“Just Sayin/I Tried,” by Californian trip-hop group The Internet, is somewhat of an overlooked gem off the band’s 2015 album “Ego Death.”

The song is split into two different narratives.

The first part (which could honestly be skipped entirely), details a heartbroken lover, played by lead singer Syd Tha Kyd, telling her ex how bad of a mistake it was to leave her. But it’s not until the second half (which starts at the 3:00 mark, to save you time) that the song soars against a bare-bones instrumental.

In the second half, the heartbroken lover, experiencing both emotional epiphany and the common urge to look back on what could have been, ruminates on the potential of getting back with her ex. The lyrics say that it would only be possible amid the most ridiculous circumstances: “Maybe one day we’ll find common ground, when the ocean’s cold and the pigs all fly.”

Alabama – Frank Ocean (feat. Sampha)

A picture of an empty room cover for Frank Ocean's "Endless"
Courtesy of Def Jam Records

To those turning to Ocean’s “Alabama” to help process their heartbreak: who hurt you?

When it comes to simping, it’s safe to say that “Alabama,” a track from Ocean’s 2016 visual album “Endless,” is the all-out nuclear option.

In the track, Ocean sings in multiple voices belting out over each other in the way thoughts race through your head, one after another, each thought not giving the one before it enough time to fully process.

Toward the end of the track, Ocean enlists British R&B singer Sampha and American R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan to deliver the final punches: “What can I do to know you better? What can I do to show my love?”

Feel No Ways – Drake

A simping playlist doesn’t bear any real credibility without at least one Drake song.

Perhaps one of the lesser known tracks off his 2016 album “Views,” “Feel No Ways” is an electro-shock of regret, insecurity and sampling from Malcolm Mclaren’s 1983 song “World’s Famous.”

In the song, Drake laments ending a relationship that provided nothing for him but material pleasure and unproductiveness: “I tried with you, there’s more to life than sleeping in and getting high with you, I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do.”

Garden (Say It Like Dat) – SZA

In a track off of her 2017 album “Ctrl,” SZA echoes Drake’s aforementioned insecurity, going as far as to burden it on her significant other in “Garden (Say It Like Dat).”

In the song, SZA balances her need for constant affirmation with the suspicion that her lover yearns for someone else on a teeter-totter: “I know you’d rather be layin’ up with a big booty, body hella positive ’cause she got a big booty (wow).”

Wow indeed.

Futile Devices – Sufjan Stevens

While it’s the only non hip-hop/R&B song on this playlist, “Futile Devices” by Sufjan Stevens more than earns its spot.

In the song, Stevens thinks about a man who he considers a good friend, but like, a really good friend.

Lyrics like “And I would say I love you, but saying it out loud is hard,” and “But you are life I needed all along. I think of you as my brother,” show the narrator internally struggling with homosexuality.

But the final line of the song, “Words are futile devices,” could resonate with anyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Drew Barrymore – SZA

Concluding the playlist is “Drew Barrymore,” another SZA track off “Ctrl.”

In what is perhaps the most emotionally honest and vulnerable song off her discography, SZA sits back during a Netflix night with tacos and friends, and watches from afar in envy as her ex gets with a new girl.

In the song, SZA plays well the role of an imperfect, emotional mom-jeans enthusiast, and the song’s title invites listeners to reminisce on the romantic comedy films of the ‘90s, like “Never Been Kissed,” starring, who else, Drew Barrymore.

What qualifies this as a simping song, however, is perhaps the track’s most startling lyric: “Im so ashamed of myself, think I need therapy.”

Hopefully this list of songs provided just that.

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