Album Review: Channel Orange – Frank Ocean

This review has been sitting in my drafts for the past week or so. Not because I’m a huge procrastinator (Okay maybe I am, but that’s not the reason), it’s because I couldn’t figure out my top 3 favorite songs. Now, I think I’ve finally decided, but first a little background is needed.

Frank Ocean is a R&B artist that is part of the group Odd Future. He has been getting more press recently due to his revealing of his sexual identity. I will not be touching on this subject because to me his music is what matters. It’s all ‘One Love’ on this site.

Anyway, I think people have been overlooking his music up until now. I’ve listened to both this album, as well as his mixtape and he is definitely a brilliant story-teller. The way he weaves his words with the flow of the music is like magic. I’ve always been a bit jealous of people with musical talents. Secretly, I’ve always wanted a significant other that could play an instrument or be able to sing, but I digress.

I’ve listened to this album once every couple of days since it came out. It takes me listening to an album at least 5 times for me to figure out if I like the album. The first couple times I don’t even listen to the words, I just listen to the flow of it. The third time I listen to the words, then the last few times I listen to both together.

This album is deep. It talks about love, money, and various other obstacles we are faced with.  It flows together very well. Songs lead into each other and I can’t find a single one that doesn’t fit. Sometimes I do feel like it’s a bit hard to hear what he’s saying. This album also deviates a bit from his mixtape which is reminiscent of the issues with Drake’s album. I don’t think that it is that big of deal in this case because unlike Drake, Frank Ocean kept the way he tells a story consistent with his mixtape.

My top 3 favorite songs on the album are Bad Religion, Pyramids, and Crack Rock.

Bad Religion

Something just attracted me to this song. I didn’t realize at first that this was the song where he referenced his sexuality. I connected with it immediately. I felt his pain of unrequited love and dealing with the feelings it presented. There were days when I wanted to take a cab and let the driver be the listening ear for an hour or two. I also loved the duality of his songs. He also talks about the corrupt power of religions. Some of the younger people may not catch the “cyanide in a Styrofoam cup” verse. He was referring to Jim Jones. Jim Jones was a preacher that was so charismatic that he convinced hundreds of people to move from San Francisco to a “utopia” called Jonestown in Guyana and eventually kill themselves. This is definitely a song of emotion with a touch of history.

Pyramids

Once again the duality of his songs astound me. This is one of the more complicated songs. I’m not sure about everything he’s talking about, but I hear the reference to Egypt, an ancient woman, prostitution next to the Pyramids hotel in Vegas, as well as, a male erection. The picture that comes with buying the single song is very interesting to say the least.

Crack Rock

This song is blatantly about crack and the downfalls of using it. You lose your family, friends, women, and your life. It’s more of an upbeat song if you can call a song about crack up beat. He goes into how your on the top of the world in the beginning then when you get addicted you end up smoking in abandon homes, stealing from your family, and all alone. It’s an intense song.

Overall

 I would have like to also talk about the song “Pink Matter” too, but I’m still trying to figure that one out. I think that this album is brilliant and Frank Ocean should be very proud of himself for it. It takes a lot of talent to produce something so touching. I think everyone should check it out.

Until we meet again,

-M.A.

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