Monday, July 23, 2012

"Why See The World, When You Got The Beach?:" Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE (Album Review)

Frank Ocean is a brave, brave man for coming out as bi-sexual in the [final] weeks leading up to the release of his major label debut... something that could have deeply affected channel ORANGE's initial sales, which ended up debuting @ #2 on the Billboard 200 chart! Ocean's new-found "preference" really doesn't have any bearing whatsoever on channel ORANGE's overall song content, quality, etc. Most of the time, Frank Ocean sounds a lot like Usher; a suave R&B singer who could easily fit in on "Urban Radio" and hang with the music industry's BIGGEST rappers. While there's definitely a great mix of various styles spread out all across channel ORANGE, there's an underlying Soulful Funkiness, mildly reminiscent of Prince.

Man, it's almost difficult to describe on "paper" how fucking AWESOME channel ORANGE really is - quite easily the best Hip-Hop/R&B album of 2012 [so far]! Granted each of Frank Ocean's self-penned compositions are all great/unique, it's pretty hard to pick which tracks would be considered my favourites. But several tracks stood out on early listens: "Thinkin' Bout You," "Sweet Life," "Pyramids," ... "Super Rich Kids," "Crack Rock," "Monks," and "Bad Religion." Recorded in blocks of time between 2011-12, channel ORANGE bobs and weaves it's way into a loose concept album, making use of AM radio fragments, abridged skits, shitty jingles, a "Real Love" interpolation, and DYNO-MITE vocal samples. Frank Ocean somehow managed to rope in features/production from some of his famous friends, too: Pharrell, John Mayer (2), Earl Sweatshirt, André 3000, Tyler The Creator, and Om'Mas Keith (Sa-Ra). channel ORANGE was pre-released on iTunes @ 12-1am July 10th after appearing on Fallon, and it was just released physically [CD] this past week, July 17th.

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