Frank Ocean, sporting his trademark headband, brought “Thinkin’ Bout You,” one of the unlikeliest hits of 2012, to the MTV Video Music Awards stage Thursday. This is a song that’s all vocals, and delicate vocals at that.
Ocean’s words seemed to disappear in the pauses between the softly strummed acoustic guitar, and credit MTV for playing to Ocean’s strengths. As much as his debut, “Channel Orange,” experiments with electronics, this is old-school soul music with just a nip of a modern sheen.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was British boy band One Direction.
Let’s be fair. Taking a bunch of cheap shots at a boy band, regardless of its country of origin, is a pointlessly easy target. What the One Direction live performance had to show was whether or not any members of this band had breakout star potential.