The release of Frank Ocean’s debut LP Channel Orange has no doubt been one of the most talked about albums of the summer. Throughout the entire week I kept hearing about his sexuality and what this means for Hip Hop, and quite frankly I couldn’t care less what Mr Ocean does in the privacy of his home and how homophobia in the Hip Hop world would receive him. At the end of the day I liked Frank Ocean solely for his music and his almost liberating take on what it means to be in love and translating it into beautiful melodies.
I am a firm believer that good music can touch everyone’s soul. Good Music doesn’t discriminate against race, sexuality and beliefs. Good music should swallow the listener whole and transcend you into the realm of how the song makes you feel. Whether its sadness, happiness, love and hate. This is exactly what “Channel Orange” does.
Frank Ocean’s voice on Channel Orange is high, beautifully thin, and almost vulnerable to the point that you feel like you are having a conversation with him. Overall the album is quite ambitious. While I was in love with Nostalgia ULTRA, his first non-official LP, I was left wanting more. For me, the best part of Ocean’s music are his narratives, which honestly take you on a journey. Listening to Channel Orange, I find myself almost in a trance like state with the instrumentals; while eating up and annalyzing every word this poet (Frank Ocean) has to tell.
Another aspect of the album that stood out to me is the fact that Frank, did not enlist the help of many collaborators – he kept it simple by enlisting label mate Earl Sweatshirt, John Mayer and the always amazing Andre 3000. Today most artists seem to try and enlist the help of every A-lister for their debut album release. The fact that Frank didn’t means he is not like every other artist and that he marches to the beat of his own drum.
The result of this is an honest, organic, breathtaking and completely original debut album that will no doubt influence the course of the genre.