Staff Rating

4.90/5

User Rating

5/5

Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE

kilgoretrout   (50 reviews)

Posted: 07/14/2012 | Comments: 2 | Rate:

When OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) hit the scene in 2009 (has it really been three years already?), the most prolific musician in the group by far was the one who had the least hype going in, Frank Ocean. By the time Odd Future was hitting their height of popularity and shock value vulgarity, Ocean had already written songs for pop heavy-hitters Brandy, Justin Bieber, and John Legend. History rarely redresses these types of injustices, but with the critical success of Frank Ocean’s new album, channel ORANGE, he seemed to be one of the few to escape it.
    
Frank Ocean is not a rapper. R&B has seemed irrelevant for so long, and Frank Ocean is here to redress that. I went into the listening and review of this album without any real expectations as I firmly believe to be necessary when reviewing something that isn’t in the normal scope of your musical tastes, and I wasn’t disappointed. Frank Ocean’s voice is perfectly suited for this type of music, and the fact that he was once a ghost-writer is, in its own right, an injustice.
    
I would be ignoring it just to ignore it if I didn’t mention all of the recent media buzz surrounding Frank Ocean, even though I’m usually not one to judge musicians by the aforementioned buzz. In his personal blog last week, Ocean told a beautifully written confession about his love for a man in 2009. So, in effect, telling the entire hip-hop/R&B/music community that he is bisexual took huge balls, and that’s all that really needs to be said about it as it has no real effect on the channel ORANGE other than perhaps changing some pronouns.
    


This music is modern Marvin Gaye; R&B that tells stories and brings about feelings that modern pop music no longer evokes. Super Rich Kids points out, tongue firmly in cheek, problems of upper class, generation X’ers: “Too many bottles of this wine we can’t pronounce/too many bowls of that green no lucky charms/the maids come around too much/parents ain't around enough.” Monks is a story of groupie love, and is a definite panty dropper. Bad Religion is a near funeral dirge sounding masterpiece of a song about struggle with faith, and hits incredibly close to home with the line, “If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion.”     

As I mentioned before, Ocean’s voice is stylistically perfect: soaring falsetto’s in the vein of D’Angelo, low soft Al Green type crooning, but a certain amount of modernity that makes this record very much “in the now”. I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank Ocean became a mainstream success, and at a mere 24 years old, he’s got the potential, experience, and connections (channel ORANGE boasts features by Andre 3000, a recently returned Earl Sweatshirt, and John Mayer) to outshine ninety-nine percent of the people trying their hand at this type of music.

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Comments
bloodthirst
2,946 Posts
12/M/NA
Great review. I wasn't expecting this album to be as good as it is.

Spot on with the D'Angelo and Al Green comparisons as well.
I have no legs!
2,832 Posts
29/M/WV
I knew he was a part of Odd Future, but really had no clue what to expect, but yes, it was fantastic.

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