Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE" Review by Dom

Frank Ocean is a California R&B singer who is a member of the OFWGKTA collective group. Frank Ocean always stood out from the other members because he was a singer not a rapper, and his lyrics also strayed away from the horrorcore flag the group had been put under. Ocean released his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra in 2011, the mixtape was met with critical acclaim. Sine then Ocean has become one of the biggest stars in R&B, working with Jay-Z and Kanye West on their album Watch the Throne to working with Pharrell, rap heavyweight Nas and working with the members of Odd Future as well. Here in 2012, Ocean has released his debut album channel ORANGE a week after publicly stating that he was once in love with a man.

1. Start - A 45 second intro track that sets up the second track.

2. Thinkin' Bout You - The first track released from the album and it is nothing short of spectacular. Frank shows his voice off right off the bat and it sounds so good.

3. Fertilizer - A 40 second interlude.

4. Sierra Leone - A nice slower song recounting Frank's lust for a girl during his teenage years.

5. Sweet Life - I'm not sure why but I am not a big fan of this song, it doesn't hold my attention, Frank sounds great but it's a song I can't get into.

6. Not Just Money - Another minute long interlude talking of how money doesn't mean happiness.

7. Super Rich Kids (featuring Earl Sweatshirt) - A 5 minute song featuring Earl Sweatshirt slowly rapping over the same beat. This song is a huge standout, using humor to make fun of rich kids, it's fantastic.

8. Pilot Jones - This track is another one that doesn't hold my attention, as always Frank sounds amazing.

9. Crack Rock - A great song about crack addiction, broken homes and crime. You can hear the emotion is Frank's voice on this track.

10. Pyramids - This song is a 10 minute epic story that is not only a pleasurable listen but is musically complex while still sounding simple enough to the listener's ear. I never thought I'd like a 10 minute long R&B song but Frank Ocean proved me wrong.

11. Lost - This is one of my favorite tracks on this album, the chorus is infectious with Ocean showing his low-scale vocals along with his higher vocals and it sounds phenomenal.

12. White (featuring John Mayer) - An interlude featuring a sweet solo played by John Mayer, it's a nice break from the last 25 minutes of R&B.

13. Monks - This track is an R&B/funk music fusion and it works with Frank's vocals, it's not a standout but it's a good song.

14. Bad Religion - A song about struggles with religion and love, and Frank sings it with such conviction that you feel for him.

15. Pink Matter (featuring Andre 3000) - I was skeptical about this song because honestly I thought Andre would outshine Frank like Andre always does when he has a guest verse. Frank holds his own against him and doesn't let him steal the show and the song benefits from it and is fantastic.

16. Forrest Gump - Another one of my favorite from this album, it hooked me in in the first 15 seconds. One is forced to wonder if this song is sung from the perspective of Jennie from the movie or if it has to do with Frank's love of another man. Regardless, the song is fantastic.

17. End/Golden Girl (featuring Tyler, the Creator) - You only get "Golden Girl" if you buy the physical cd and it's completely worth it especially hearing a surprising verse from Tyler, the Creator. It's a fantastic way to end the album.

Overall - Coming off of a critically acclaimed mixtape and high profile features this album had a lot to live up to. Frank pulled it off in spectacular style. channel ORANGE is one of my favorite albums of 2012, I return to it almost every day/night to listen to.

Rating - 9/10

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