LISTEN: Leo Ari Breathes Even Deeper Pathos Into Frank Ocean’s ‘Self Control’

Artist-musician Leo Ari made a comeback recently with a reimagining of ‘Burung Perawan’, a track from his EP Love Must Be Real, which he’d also reuploaded onto the interwebs after having had it deleted for a long while. Now, through much nudging and encouragement by close friends, Leo is finally making his pained cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Self Control’ – recorded a mere nine days after the release of Blond(e) – available to the public.

In an official statement, Leo gave context to the significance of the cover:

“Two years ago [my girlfriend and I] broke up from a five-year relationship. Seven months later she got engaged. A month later we connected again. A few weeks after that, we disconnected, for good. After that, I fell ill. Five months later she got married. A few days later, I recorded this.”

Speaking to the man personally, Leo added that the conversation sampled in the song’s intro is actually real-life repartee among him, his ex-girlfriend, and mutual friends from years ago that was recorded in secret. “I just wanted to start off with a piece of memory when we were much more happy together,” he says. “The relationship fractured not only my relationship with her, but as a side-effect, with my friends too. So, it’s more than just about her being in the conversation, it’s also about my friends.”

Image Rizki Maulana

‘Self Control’ is already a highlight of Frank’s Blond(e), and here as interpreted by Leo Ari, its wounded longing and acceptance of what could never be are given closer-to-life background, making its otherwise vague lyrics all the more relatable in its veracity. Musically, Leo’s cover is evocative of the Frank Ocean aesthetic; from the mentioned sample of a real convo, to the sound of an engine revving, to its minimalist production that ever so slightly almost veers to maximalism before being reined back.

Listen to the original below:

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