Album Review: Frank Ocean – channel Orange

ImageChristopher Francis Ocean or better known as Frank Ocean, is an American Singer-Songwriter who started his career as a ghost writer for artists such as Brandy, John Legend and Justin Bieber.  After years of mix tapes and writing and performing behind several A-list artists, he released his debut album channel Orange in July 2012.  He surfaced into mainstream when he wrote an open letter and on Tumblr about his attraction to same-sex.  He is one of the first major Hip-Hop/R&B artists to announce that he had fallen in love with someone of the same-sex.

Let’s stop dealing about his sexual preference.  For me Music speaks volumes and transcends to everyone regardless of race, culture, religion, and sex.  Anyway, let’s check which songs on channel Orange are the best of the bunch.

  1. Start – This is a prelude that sets the mood for the whole album.  We hear Ocean laughing and chilling in the background somehow inviting us to sit back and relax and enjoy the album.
  2. Thinkin Bout You – This is his carrier single and surely he does not disappoint new listeners.  I can say that his falsetto sounds INCREDIBLE.  When I first heard of this song on the radio I thought it’s a Drake track but when I heard the amazing falsetto I knew it’s not Drake.
  3. Fertilizer – an interesting interlude that sounds like a radio commercial about bullsh*t. Haha!
  4. Sierra Leone – The percussion sounds pretty sick and the beat is dope!  The song takes you to a different place.  It gave me Eargasm!
  5. Sweet Life – Damn I am falling in love with this album and we’re just at the beginning of it!  I just fancy this R&B/Motown vibe that takes you to a happy love cruise or something.
  6. Not Just Money – This 59-second interlude explains why money is not just money but it is everything, including happiness.
  7. Super Rich Kids Feat. Earl Sweatshirt – The previous interlude interestingly connects track 5 and this one.  Another remarkable beat that sounded familiar yet unique.
  8. Pilot Jones – The song takes off like a first-class plane!  Again Frank Ocean sounded AMAZING on this track.
  9. Crack Rock – One of the more upbeat tracks on the album, this song tackles drugs, violence, and broken homes.  It’s so cleverly written and the beat sounds great, you would not sense that this is actually a pretty dark song.
  10. Pyramids – Admittedly one of the best songs in the album!  Different astounding beats coming out of nowhere, creating an exciting fusion of pop and R&B.  To top it all off – Ocean’s remarkable vocals and lyrics.
  11. Lost – I did not see this coming.  This song gives me a European-Bruno Mars vibe.  I’m likin it, I’m likin it a whole lot!
  12. White Feat. John Mayer – The guitar sampling courtesy of John Mayer gives this interlude a very sensual tune.
  13. Monks – The percussion is in full force on this one.  I think Ocean is tackling something about casual sex with some African women with English accent, mixing with religion.  I love the syncopating beats.
  14. Bad Religion – Wow.  This is the most personal, naked, and gut-wrenching song Ocean has ever written.  The song tackles Ocean’s sexuality, “It’s a bad religion / to be in love with someone / who could never love you.”  This song is a masterpiece.
  15. Pink Matter Feat. Andre 3000 – I’m still having a hangover with the previous track when this song come seeping through my headphones.  Here he’s talking about his struggle of choosing between sensual pleasure and true love.  Another amazing track.
  16. Forrest Gump – Another unexpected track, trying to lean away from the dark and emotional tracks of the album.  This song is a very cool icebreaker.
  17. End – This postlude kind of creeps me out.  What an interesting and freaky way of closing an absolutely respectable album.

 

Final Thoughts: I am impressed.  With underwhelming offerings of some R&B artists this year (Usher’s Looking 4 Myself and Chris Brown’s Fortune), channel Orange is clearly one of the best Hip-Hop/R&B albums of 2012.

Songs to be put on your Playlist: Thinkin Bout You, Bad Religion, Pyramids, Pink Matter

 

Grab this album if you like: Drake, Trey Songz, Andre 3000,

 

4.5 out of 5

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