Frank Ocean does all the right things on “channel ORANGE”
Frank Ocean, “channel ORANGE”
Frank Ocean's new album, "channel ORANGE," does all of the right things to accentuate the singer's smooth R&B style. Ocean first came to the public's attention after being featured on releases by the brash rap collective known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. But Ocean is far from a rapper. His voice has been an oddity on the albums, as he’s often the calm amid the chaos. Ocean uses the same approach on "channel ORANGE" to favorable results. During the release's early songs, he could be accused of being a little too calm. Don't think of it that way. Instead, consider the early part of the album as a slow build leading up to the payoff, much like that of a thriller-genre movie. Here, the payoff is "Super Rich Kids," which coyly borrows the piano part of "Bennie And The Jets" and mixes it with Ocean singing his own lyrics and a few lyrics from the Mary J. Blige hit "Real Love." Both are interesting choices to sample, but Ocean pulls it off making the songs seem so right together. The arrangements get even more complicated on the 10-minute track "Pyramids." Ocean sounds effortless in his delivery over an uptempo dance beat for its first half before slowing things down for the song’s final act. His voice lends itself well to such dynamic music. Other songs on "channel ORANGE" don't require as much work. Ocean sings about a "domesticated paradise" on "Sweet Life." This song was meant for Ocean's relaxed delivery and goes hand-in-hand with "Super Rich Kids" in keeping with a class warfare theme. Other songs stray slightly from the path, but the song writing of Ocean and others including Pharrell Williams keeps things in perspective while not being boxed in by an overall theme. "Channel ORANGE" just misses being as good as Ocean's 2011 mix tape, "nostalgia, ULTRA." But its still a great album that has Ocean improving on his lyrics while not going outside the boundaries of his smooth vocal style.
Baroness, "Yellow & Green"
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