ALBUM REVIEW: Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange”

Rating: 9/10

Let’s try to stick to the music here. Frank Ocean is such a natural talent that he doesn’t need any outside controversy to draw attention to himself. This didn’t stop circumstance, or perhaps fate, from doing just that, however – leading Frank to confess his love for another man in years past, sending the Hip-Hop world in a frenzy, skyrocketing his Twitter followers through the roof, and leading Def Jam to release his album, Channel Orange, digitally, a week in advance. Yeah, just music. It’s one thing to start a war on society’s perceptions, and another to make a great album. Frank Ocean has done one of these.

The record begins with the sultry “Thinkin Bout You”, and rightfully so. The ‘duck-for-cover’ accident single exploded to popular heights, and speaks to who Ocean is at the core of his musical self – an awesome songwriter. “Monks” and “Bad Religion” serve as two examples of this. The first, a wildly entertaining anecdote about groupies from the UK and Indian girls longing to escape over kicking drums, while the latter hits a more personal, and somber, note: “Taxi driver/ Be my shrink for the hour/…just outrun the demons could you?”.

The best showing of writing skill is in the hazy guitar inhabited, Andre 3000-assisted “Pink Matter”. While 3 Stacks is leaving listeners awe-stricken with an unpredictable flow and mind-boggling lyrics, “If models are made for modeling/ Thick girls are made for cuddlin’”, Ocean fits Kung-Fu, Dragonball Z, and an unborn child into his part – and not fits – like, forced. Fits like perfect. None of Frank Ocean’s lyrics are boring, cliché, or too outside the realm of understanding. They wander, having you guessing what he truly means, while leaving room for your own interpretation. They are near perfect.

“Crack Rock” tells a melancholy tale of drug addiction that leaves you hanging from a cliff, until you are instantly lifted from your sudden free-fall into the high activity, high lust, flashing lights filled show that is “Pyramids”. You would think that the 10-minute single would be the center block the rest of the tracks revolve around; this done by length, and by quality. On the contrary, it flows just as well as the one-minute John Mayer guitar solo, “White” – a testament to how important every song is to the overall project.

As much as the album is one of words, it is also one of moods and tones and emotions and vibes that gel together beautifully. “Sweet Life” has a summer bounce that only Pharrell can bring, and “Super Rich Kids” is a masterfully catchy and nostalgic take on a spoiled child’s disdain with his pampered life; plus, Earl Sweatshirt is on it, adding to the fun. Channel Orange is a bit everywhere. Nevertheless, it’s not scattered to where the listener feels rushed and lost; they actually get a taste of everything they want.

When the closing song, “Forrest Gump” was about 30 seconds in, my friend turned to me and said, “I really liked the song, until he said “boy’”. Being the most direct stance in favor of homosexuality on the album, this is understandable. But I disagree with the idea of not enjoying good music. Frank Ocean has placed himself above genre borders and identity labels with Channel Orange. This is not summer time music, nor deep music, nor soul music, nor weird music, nor gay music.

This is great music.


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  • Pierre Elliott

    I Went to Itunes, to check out the album…At first I had a biased view until I read this review.
    Honestly, I felt kinda wack after dissing him without hearing his whole album.

    Well, I must say: Im not impressed. Honestly. The music is at MOST OK.
    His vocals remind me of Drake mixed with a lil Musiq Soul Child ( not to diss you Musiq )

    But I give props to Ocean for doing what he is attempting to do, BUT musically and lyrically
    its yet another album, of social spectacle with sparse beats and 3 stacks and Mayer for garnish.

    A real TRUE album, would have been less about spectacle, and more intimate views with Ocean
    not the “out of the closet” gay that he has recently become.

    There have been many gay BLACK singers and groups, and granted it was of a more
    socially ignorant world, but even then; there were pockets where actors and singers could announce or make it known they were gay… But It was NEVER part of who they wanted to be or appear to the masses.. And when they did it was after much deep soul searching…

    I am not gay, but do NOT USE someones life choice as a selling point for you..
    Cause its not real….

    •  ^^^^^^ ahh and dude about both drop great review i doubt i’ll be checking this one out tho not cause dude is gay supposely but more because im not that much into singing same reason why i never checked out the love below by andre3000 😉

      • 1SOFLO1

        Funny thing is I checked out andre3000 love below and was not impressed. He has only one rap track in there, until today that is my favorite from andre3000. The track is title: A Life in the Day of Benjamin André. (The track has no chorus, pure fire)

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  • “the most direct stance in favor of homosexuality”
    You write as if Frank’s trying to make an argument. Do you honestly not understand the issue?

    • Pierre Elliott

      Him being gay shouldnt be an issue. It would have been diff, say this album came out in 95 or 2000 for that matter.  Just come out, with your music. Let it be good and everyone big you up…THEN you say on the low as a reporter asks you your orientation.
      Thats when you say it….. But you know if that was the case then he need to come out
      WORK ON A NEW ALBUM, as if to indicate where he is coming from AFTER he said it.

      He still was a closet dude under the guise of hetero. Only to announce what his 
      orientation AFTER it releases.. Its too well timed a move for it to be genuine.

      • MH Cressman

        He said it after rumors flew around because of Forrest Gump. It wasn’t a marketing ploy, nor was it well-timed. It explains who he is, and it adds to the album. 

        On top of that, he didn’t “come out”, he just explained that at one point he fell in love with a man. Sexuality is fluid, and this album is a HUGE proponent of that. 

      • I agree with most, if not all, with that you said.

        But the dude is gay.

      • Pierre Elliott

        but im not feeling the album. beats need to be better.

      • Pierre Elliott

        but the lyrical content is nice… its just all of this music needs to be more cohesive. most of this stuff ISNT gonna stand the test of time. The production is too trendy. You need production that is solid all the way through..

      • MH Cressman

        Until he actually claims the identity, he’s not. You’re just saying that because he once fell in love with a man. Protip: That doesn’t always equate to homosexuality. If you agreed with what I said, then you’d know that sexuality is fluid, it changes. Frank may have loved a man at 19, that doesn’t mean he’s gay now. The fact that his music talks about both men and women proves, at the very least, bisexuality. 

  • rep87

    Frank look like a Big Sperm Floating

  • Guest

    9/10???….13/13!…….BUY OR DIE!

  • Guest

    very NIRVANA…”nevermind.”

  • Guest

    this is the biggest thing to ever happen to HIP HOP!

  • Guest


  • Nice Album 4/5

  • Guest


  • Guest


  • Sosa_Limone

    i thought the forrest gump song wasnt gay… by listening to teh lyrics i thought he was writing it from teh perspective of jenny (forests boo).. so it would make sense that he uses the word he… then when i think about it.. idk if a straight guy woudl write a song about a boy from the perspective of a girl.. lol idk either way i dont support homosexuality, but i think it was a creative concept.

  • Meerschaumuseum

    A damn fine album.  It encompasses a broad spectrum of different R&B stylings and does all of  them justice.  Sweet Life is nicely summery and funky.  Pyramids is a magnificent sprawling edifice of a song.  And Bad Religion is, well, just heartbreaking.

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  • Check my review on RapRuler .com

  • Pierre Elliott

    still not as good as it should be… if this album didnt grab me as soon as it started, then its not as good as PEOPLE CLAIM it to be…..ANd I think some people are PAID to givew comments on pages… Like I hate Beyonce, and most of her music. But if her song is hot imma cop it.

    I didnt find that here….And im very OPEN minded with music.

    Heres a group that is doing what Oceans attempting…. And thats his labels fault.

    Little Dragon,<==Listen to how much farther heads are above us in term of music lyrics and 
    production…….The labels here in america  keep dope music from really really reaching the masses….

    • Pierre Elliott

      But none the less Ocean, good job.  And if the time comes, il bless you with a remix.

    • MH Cressman

      The album should be taken as a whole rather than if it grabs you at the start. Listening to the album the whole way through proves its greatness, it’s a cohesive whole rather than a single-friendly pop album.

  • Cheez4

    Frank is dope gay or not….I’m tired of ignorant people hating someone for not being like them….it’s time for us to step us as humans and just be happy with who you are and not put so much effort in worring about who you are not!

  • YungKizz

    frank ocean album is a classic hes wat i like to call male version of sade

    • Q.

      “male version of sade”  OOH, THAT’S A HELLUVA STRETCH.

      Dude has a mature pen for 24 though.

  • R1CH™


  • Pierre Elliott




  • WillVetterGoodin

    shit is wack as they come now. miserable fail.

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  • Vuer89

    Didn’t captive me from the start like Ultra did, but, nonetheless a good album. Props

  • JimJames29

    If you don’t like it you don’t like it… no need to type 35 posts repeating your statement… This album is a classic… 

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