Album Review: Don’t Change the Channel. Channel Orange is on!


Image from hiphopdx.com

It has been a little less than a month since Frank Ocean, from the mega group Odd Future, dropped his debut album on July 10th, Channel Orange. I have been playing Frank’s mix tape Nostalgia repeatedly since I downloaded it! From the moment I pressed the play button on my iPod Touch, a familiar sight greeted me–Frank Ocean’s skits, which are often associated with video games and/or pop culture. Nostalgia opened with Street Fighter references. Channel Orange opened with a reminiscent sound, the opening sequence for a Playstation One game console. At that moment I knew I was in for an exceptional piece of musical art.

The first song on the seventeen-track album is “Thinkin Bout You”. This was the first song I was introduced to, and it left me wanting more. The melody of the song is enchanting, as is Frank’s vocal range and his metaphoric and intricate writing. Ocean’s opening lines show that why he isn’t your average songwriter—his lyrics paint a picture. He opens the song singing, “A tornado flew around my room before you came excuse the mess it made/It usually doesn’t rain in Southern California much like Arizona/My eyes don’t shed tears but boy they pour when I’m thinkin bout you”.

Another song I enjoyed was “Crack Rock”, a song about the turmoil of crack addiction. His opening lines set the somber and reflective tone of the song. In it he sings, “You don’t know how little you matter/Until you’re all alone/In the middle of Arkansas/With a little rock left in that glass dick”. An up-tempo melody of soft piano keystrokes and smooth drumbeat are matched by Frank’s cool approach to this sad story. Frank Ocean has a way with his words here and his vocal range only boosts his talent more.

“Pyramids” is another great song. Frank uses the first half of this ten-minute song to compare a love interest to Cleopatra. In the second stanza he sings, “Run run run/Come back for my glory/Bring her back to me/Run run run/The crown of our pharaoh/The throne of our queen is empty”.

“Bad Religion” is a phenomenal masterpiece. It opens with Frank singing, “Taxi driver/Be my shrink for the hour/Leave the meter running/It’s rush hour/So take the streets if you wanna/Just outrun the demons could you/He said Allah Hu Akbar/I told him don’t curse me/Bo bo you need prayer/I guess it couldn’t hurt me/If it brings me to my knees/It’s a bad religion”.

“Pink Matter”, “Pilot Jones, and “Rich Kids” are other standouts on this wonderful album that will have you bopping your head and mouthing words on the train, if that is your mode of transportation.

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Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this review about Frank Ocean. It piqued my curiousity enough to check him out.

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