Music Review: Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE”
“channel ORANGE” is one of my most anticipated albums for this year, and probably my most anticipated albums in a long, long, long time. I can’t remember the last time I sat to myself and thought “I can’t wait for that album.” I generally practice patience and can wait. Good thing comes to those who wait. I still had to wait for this album, but man was it such a build up.
Some of you, if not many, should have heard of Frank Ocean. Either by the songs he has written, the albums he has helped produced, or a few songs he has been featured on. Most strongly, for those into the pop/hip hop scene will obviously have heard of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s album “Watch the Throne” that had a crazy amount of hype around it (deserving of course, but still a lot of hype). Frank Ocean is directly featured on the songs “No Church in the Wild” and “Made in America.” Indirectly, fans of Justin Bieber, Brandy, or John Legend may have heard a few of his contributions in lyrics.
Last year Frank Ocean released his mixtape “nostalgia, ULTRA” (starting the lower-case, upper-case titling of albums, mixtapes, etc.). Off of that mixtape, “Novacane” and “Swim Good” became solid singles.
My introduction to Frank Ocean, however, was “Thinkin Bout You,” which I have been jamming to since some time late last year. For some reason or another, this song seriously sings to me. After that song, Frank Ocean could do no wrong.
And here we are today, the official release of “channel ORANGE.” The album features “Thinkin Bout You” of course. The album also features a collabo with Andre 3000 “Pink Matter,” which is another recommended track. There is also a short, soft song with John Mayer playing guitar. ”channel ORANGE” is 17 tracks (including an intro and other various interludes).
I wondered briefly why Frank Ocean was classified as pop for this album, but after giving it a listen, it does have some strong elements of pop, especially in the driving beat in songs like “Pyramids” and “Super Rich Kids.” Still, the album features more of a fusion of pop, hip hop, and R&B all in one. To me, what makes Frank Ocean is his style of singing and his versatility. However, “channel ORANGE” has a consistent “comfort zone” for Frank Ocean. Perhaps in another album we may hear something different perhaps. Some hip-hop and rap artists tend to feature a few “slow” tracks to show they aren’t fast, hard-hitting singers. Frank Ocean should feature a few songs that are more upbeat, hard-hitting simply to show his capabilities that I believe he has. Still, “channel ORANGE” features what will be known as Frank Ocean’s iconic style that sets him apart from many other artists.
If you are into crooners or smooth R&B, you should definitely get this album. In my opinion, a lot of music isn’t that good, but this is. This album essentially had me saying, “you don’t hear music like this much these days.” If you are still skeptical, go check out “Thinkin Bout You,” “Pink Matter,” “Super Rich Kids,” or “Pyramids.” These tracks should hopefully sell you on Frank Ocean.
And yes, Frank Ocean has “come out of the closet” and admitted his homosexual preferences, but that means absolutely nothing in whether you should or shouldn’t buy someone’s music. Music is music. I keep people’s preferences in politics, religion, and sexuality out of it and so should you. More power to Frank Ocean’s strength and courage in coming out, but it doesn’t bother me any. Were I to boycott artists because of controversial (in my eyes) choices, my music selection would be exceptionally hindered.