What a week for Frank Ocean! After receiving a multitude of praise for his noble open letter expressing his sexuality, then dropping his debut album a week early on iTunes; the whole world is buzzing for his Def Jam debut album “Channel Orange”. The Twittersphere was lighting up with comments by avid fans declaring no matter what his personal life entails, fans globally were still going to buy the album. If you’re wondering who Frank Ocean is because you live in a cave, let me fill you in. The R&B crooner and member of Odd Future recently appeared on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch The Throne” album on not ONE, but TWO tracks (No Church In The Wild & Made In America) so once he got signed to Def Jam Records with backing from the big dogs, Frank was given the space and creative resources to create the album he dreamed of, and that the public deserved.
After the intro track aptly named “Start” containing a medley of gaming console sounds, we jump straight into the familiar sounding “Thinking Bout You” which was Frank’s first single which dropped late last year. As he croons over minimalistic beats and simple chords, his words speak out with messages of love and romance, setting the mood for the album early on. With mixed feelings on “Sierra Leone” (which follows the same format) we move on to “Sweet Life” with an upbeat jazz and swing influence but this time boasting a more dramatic production. If you haven’t realised by now, Frank’s vocals are really impressing more than anyone else in the contemporary music scene, outshining Usher, Ne-Yo, R Kelly and more.
After a short interlude OFWGKTA wonderkid Earl Sweatshirt hooks up with his crew brother Ocean to create “Super Rich Kids”, creating hip-hop R&B fusion with a very staccato beat that Earl drops some of the realest bars you’ve ever heard. Watch out for this kid, his cult-like following is massive already but he’ll blow up even more in 2012!
Whilst we’d love to go into great depth on all these tracks, we’ll leave the listening pleasure to you, but co-sign and highly recommend that you check out “Crack Rock” and “Bad Religion” but when it comes down to picking the best track it proves very tricky. The choices are between “Pyramids” the 9 minute long epic which is more like the central chapter of this album and the latter choice is “Pink Matter” featuring Andre 3000. To be Frank (see what we did there?) words don’t do this track justice, this is the best you’ll ever hear a male artist sing ever. The spine tingling strings give you goosebumps all over and Andre 3000’s unique flow really makes this track the highlight of the album.
There’s too many great tracks on this album to mention so don’t be fooled into thinking that Frank’s music style is one-dimensional because it’s his speciality that makes this album shine. The recipe is a minimalistic beat layered up into a musical symphony of instruments topped off this trademark crooning voice. So throughout this album, Frank has made a series of colour references including white, orange, pink and green but we’ve got no idea if this relates to racism or sexuality? So ignore all the arguments you might read that Frank announced his sexuality just for album sales, be real, this is 2012, that’s an intensely personal thing to call. Just appreciate his music buy it off iTunes or cop the CD next week if you want to get the bonus track featuring Odd Future frontman Tyler The Creator! I’d pretty much bet my lunch money Channel Orange is the best album of 2012.