Album Review: Frank Ocean – ‘Channel Orange’
Frank Ocean's long-awaited debut album 'Channel Orange' has been released exclusively on iTunes, a week ahead of its July 17 release date. Ever since Ocean dropped his debut 'Nostalgia Ultra' last January the Odd Future singer been a very hard man to ignore - and his debut album has certainly lived up to expectations...
‘Channel Orange’ is almost entirely produced entirely by Ocean, with help from close friend Malay; the music is an astounding step upwards from his previous work. ‘Thinking About You’, ‘Pyramids’ and ‘Sweet Life’ we were released before the release of the album, receiving positive reviews almost all-round. ‘Sweet Life’ displays the vocal talent of Ocean, displaying his own signature sound through his falsetto, which climbs to near-unreachable heights. The movement between smooth jazz-funk and acapella breakdowns is Ocean's way of letting us know that he's arrived.
Odd Future star Earl Sweatshirt features on 'Super Rich Kids' - their chemistry on the track is near perfection, with Earl posing as the darker side of Ocean's conscience. Other features include John Mayer on the short and mellow 'White', which poses more as an interlude on the album. The final feature and arguably the most anticipated is from Andre 3000, in which the Outkast rapper returns with the same flow he used on Drake's 'The Real Her'. ‘Pink Matter’ also hears Ocean unleashing a voice we never really knew existed, making the track even more memorable than first imagined.
The ‘Nature Feels’ crooner peppers his album with delicate interludes which include 'Start' which nostalgically takes us back to the sounds of the first PlayStation model. 'Not Just Money' is a justification for kids being rich and 'Fertilizer' poses more as a jingle than an actual song. Ocean never fails to disappoint, tracks such as 'Monk' display the dreamy, trippy cloud of Frank's imagination, which is also matched with 'Pilot Jones' - a sex-fuelled track ideal for a night in with your respective partner.
The albums diversity is epitomized with the inclusion of 'Crack Rock', which for me is the weakest track on the album - which comes as no surprise as it is one of the more up-tempo records. It's a shame, seeing that it's also the album's most overtly political cut, blaming the government for ignoring the increasing crack-related deaths in the United States. Nevertheless 'Crack Rock' is the only 'Channel Orange' misfire.
Tracks 'Bad Religion' and 'Forrest Gump' provide an insight into the bi-sexuality of the singer as he quite clearly states 'him' instead of 'her'. The attention of the listener is fixed on the tear-drenching and revealing lyrical content which exhibits the bravery and the talent of the compelling artist which is Frank Ocean.
Overall ‘Channel Orange’ is an extraordinary record – forward-thinking, imaginative and very refreshing. It is a musical gem not to be overlooked; one which leaves the final thought that the future is bright for Frank Ocean.