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Music Review: Frank Ocean's Channel Orange
  • July 17, 2012 : 13:07
  • comments

“By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant,” explains Frank Ocean in his now-notorious letter, entitled “thank you’s.” Posted on his blog two weeks ago, a simple screencap of a one-off message in Notepad written on a plane home on December 27th, 2011 explains the passion and story behind his latest album, Channel Orange.

“Whoever you are, wherever you are…I’m starting to think we’re a lot alike.”

Since then, huge names in the music industry have come out of the woodwork to support Ocean’s sexuality. Bisexual or gay, it’s irrelevant. The rest of the story, which we can’t piece together through the songs and blog post, is written between the lines of his sophomore album, Channel Orange, which dropped a week early online. The storytelling on this album stands out from every other R&B album that has come out this year. While Chris Brown chose to talk about his swag, Ocean’s lyrical writing (Ocean cowrote the album with the likes of Pharrell and James Ho) is passionate, mesmerizing and heart-wrenching. For instance, the tracks “Pyramids” and “Lost,” while one is about the collapse of Cleopatra and the other a pop song about a drugged-up girlfriend, are somehow married together by the power of sin, gluttony and having it all.

The songs do circulate around the ideas of wealth, sex and drugs, as many R&B songs do, but Ocean’s reflections of authentic happiness and musings on what to do next when you’re a mega-star alters how one reacts to the tracks. There are some songs on Channel Orange that have to be listened to with the entire album: “Fertilizer,” a fake radio jingle wedged between the song “Thinkin Bout You” and “Sierra Leone,” and the track “White,” which features John Mayer, are two of them. Alone, it’s difficult to understand why they would be included on the album, but when they’re in the context of the rest of the tracks, the songs seem more whole.

Like every other critic and fan, it’s hard not to love this album. The buzz of Frank Ocean’s sexual orientation will eventually fade, but the excitement over Channel Orange will not.

Best Tracks: "Super Rich Kids," "Thinkin Bout You," "Crack Rock"

Skip These: "Pilot Jones," "Forrest Gump"

read more: entertainment, review, music


  • Yuhe
    its very easy to not like. His music is nothing special and borederline boring. critics my ass. do a critic on someone worth it and not overexposed like this dude. everyone else did a critic of this guy you're a bit late