Frank Ocean has never been talked about more than he has this past week. Between his tumblr post about his sexuality and the release of his label debut Channel Orange a week early, the internet seems to be obsessed with him.
The album, which is set to sell around 112,000 copies (with Itunes sells alone) has been receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike and rightfully so. Frank sings of his love for women and men throughout the album, but the pronouns aren’t nearly as important as the relatable stories he’s telling. The album doesn’t feature nearly as many love songs as Nostalgia, Ultra, but what Frank does deliver is a cohesive album full of vivid stories, passionate vocals, and heartbreaking melodies.
Check out my track by track review below!
Vocal Delivery: 3.5/5
Lyrical Content: 4/5
Overall Production: 3.5/5
Start – The album begins with “Start” an intro full of media reminiscent noises and a nostalgic feel that reminds you of Nostalgia, Ultra
Thinkin Bout You – “Thinkin Bout You” has been out for a while now, and it’s been a favorite of mine since it was first released. Frank bounces between honesty and sarcasm in the heartfelt track about missing a first love.
Fertilizer – A catchy, 40-second tune, about bullshit. It’s interesting and funny, and everything you’d expect from Frank.
Sierra Leone – Frank tells the story of a young boy who gets a girl pregnant and is forced to grow up a little quicker in “Sierra Leone.” The song is, of course, beautifully written though it may take your a few tries to comprehend every line.
Sweet Life – Frank sings of the superficial good life on this Pharrell produced track. “Why see the world when you’ve got the beach,” Frank sings over the smooth track that will make you wish you could just lay out and tan all day while your landscaper and housekeeper tend to you domestic duties.
Not Just Money – A woman gives the definition of money in this interlude, and according to her money is EVERYTHING. “Not Just Money” is a perfect bridge between “Sweet Life” and “Super Rich Kids”
Super Rich Kids ft. Earl Sweatshirt – Frank lives the sweet life again in “Super Rich Kids” a tale of a group of kids living the spoiled life equipped with Jaguars, cocaine, and fake friends. But everything’s not perfect as Frank makes clear before Earl Sweatshirt’s verse by covering Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love.” Even when he has everything, Frank still yearns for love.
Pilot Jones – Frank Ocean falls in love with a drug addict in “Pilot Jones.” The track is sure to be a fan favorite for it’s clever lyrics, and trippy instrumentals.
Crack Rock – “You hit them stones and broke your home,” Frank sings adding a little grit to his voice. Crack Rock tells the tale of drug addiction and how it ruins familial relationships and ends in neighborhood violence.
Pyramids – A 10-minute track that compares Cleopatra to a prostitute/stripper shouldn’t be this intriguing, but it is. Frank shows off his versatility and storytelling abilities once again over the funky track that will have you hitting repeat again and again.
Lost – “Girl you know you’re lost,” Frank sings of his love interest who spends her time cooking drugs. It’s another catchy tune, but it’s not as strong as the other songs on the album.
White ft. John Mayer – If you were expecting the previously release “White,” you were shocked to find that the album version is a minute long instrumental that features some smooth guitar playing from John Mayer.
Monks – An intriguing tale of a sexually curious girl who runs away from her religious upbringing to be with her boyfriend. “Monks” is not my favorite track on the album, but I do think it’s worth noting that Frank Ocean can turn ANYTHING into an interesting story.
Bad Religion – Frank Ocean confides in his taxi driver in “Bad Religion.” “I could never make him love me,” Frank sings, repeating the last two words several times as if in a state of shock. The song that started all of the sexuality rumors just happens to be one of the best, and most unforgettable tracks on the album.
Pink Matter ft. Andre 3000 – “Pink Matter” oozes sex, passion and curiosity. “Dim the lights and fall into you. My God, you’re giving me pleasure,” Frank sings before Andre 3000 comes in with a clever verse about an irresistible lover. If that wasn’t enough for you, the track then features a staccato guitar solo. Seriously, it’s the kind of perfection that only Andre 3000 and Fank Ocean could pull off.
Forrest Gump – “Forrest Gump you run my mind boy,” Frank sings on the album’s last full track of a gentle, strong lover. The beat, vocals, and lyrics are as simple as a Frank Ocean song gets, but it stands out as yet another story of a guy yearning for a love that’s still just out of reach.
End – Just as the record ends it begins. Frank’s vocals (courtesy of Voodoo) are muffled by chaotic noises and the sound of a woman. Then it ends.