Described as the most exciting R&B breakthrough album, ‘Channel ORANGE’ is one record that will stand the test of time.
Today we are taking it back to 2012, ‘Channel ORANGE’, the debut studio album of renownedAmerican R&B singer, songwriter and artist, Frank Ocean.
An album that took us channel-surfing through Ocean’s memories and made references to the colour he claimed to have perceived representing his first summer love.
More of an unconventional album, brimming with film-inspired segue tracks leaning towards elements of electro-funk, pop-soul, jazz-funk and psychadelics.
One record not shy of awards, ‘Channel ORANGE’ peaked to number two on the US Billboard 200 and sold a whopping 131,000 copies in its first week.
Ocean began writing songs for ‘Channel ORANGE’ in February 2011 with songwriter and producer, Malay, who is also his friend and creative partner since starting in the music industry.
Echoing a deceptive luxurious lifestyle full of disconnection, Ocean’s free-flowing yet assured forward-thinking songwriting takes a turn to unique places.
Delving into themes of unrequited love, decadence, class and drugs through intelligent surrealistic imagery, conversational and descriptive narratives depicting the ‘characters’ of his life. But amongst all the lush theatrics, you almost getting a feeling that perhaps Ocean’s lyrics tell his story of trying to not get caught up in the mesmerising bright lights that entice him due to the position he is in.
Featuring an admirable list of featured guests with the likes of Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the Creator, Andre 3000 and John Mayer just give the record it’s extra shine.
Let us indulge in a few favourites.
The first single released from the record, ‘Thinkin’ Bout You’ expresses feelings for an ex-lover, despite trying to move on he reveals how he still has strong feelings, contemplating if he will be able to ever move on.
‘Super Rich Kids’ featuring Earl Sweatshirt maintains the lush sentiment infiltrating through the album. Taking a more desolate tone whilst cleverly experimenting with the dynamics of his voice, Ocean explores the reality of wealth and how a life full of materialistic things is not one full of real love and happiness.
Nearly 10 minutes long, ‘Pyramids’ is one track full of everything making you feel like your listening to three songs in one. A tale of the ancient history of the Black woman and her gradual decline from being a Queen in her homeland to a more degrading Westernised role. Making references to Cleopatra, known as a symbol of female power, the track is literally a historical account of the Black woman in America and her slow fall of grace due to societal influence.
‘Lost’ is one track you could listen to for days on end. Ocean tells a tale of a drug supplier who manipulates his girlfriend as a drug mule. The girl ends up getting lost in the high-flying lifestyle of drug trafficking, Ocean sings to this girl hoping that she will go back to her normal life, away from this tantalising criminal lifestyle she is lost in. Although she wants to leave, the temptations are too great.
Need to refresh your memory with some old-school Frank Ocean classics, go get your copy of the unfading ‘Channel ORANGE’ HERE.