Jul 20, 2012 Web Exclusive
Frank Ocean has had quite the 2012. After word surfaced that his debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, wouldn't see a deluxe rerelease from label Def Jam, it seemed there was a real risk he'd be left behind, another victim of label politics and the machinations of men in suits who don't really know what good music is.
But then, Ocean announced an all-new album on, yes, Def Jam. Single after single started trickling out, and it seemed as though Channel Orange might end up being something really special. A week before it was released digitally, Ocean came out as bisexual, giving the whole project an even bigger feeling of profundity.
But no expectation could have prepared listeners for how good this album is. Channel Orange is a massive artistic statement, one that few expected after news came of Ultra's demise. Comprised of huge R&B tracks ("Sweet Life"), weird, epic experiments ("Pyramids"), piano-ballad driven rap songs ("Super Rich Kids," featuring a double-take-inducing verse from Earl Sweatshirt), depressing baroque gospel pop ("Bad Religion"), an Andre 3000 song ("Pink Matter"), and odd, radio-jingle-like songs ("Fertilizer" and "Forrest Gump"). Overall, it's a remarkable achievement for a 24-year-old. It stands tall as the best R&B album in a long while, if not the best album in a long while. (www.frankocean.com)
Author rating: 9/10
Average reader rating: 8/10