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112 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2012 R&B from Frank Ocean
First, the statement/announcement made on Frank Ocean's tumblr earlier this month...

It's significant and quite frankly, `Radical.' Right now, it's almost impossible to write a review without talking about, or at least mentioning, the letter. Read it if you haven't already. It's important. And at the time this review was written, tons of celebrities have...
Published on July 12, 2012 by mikedoeseverything

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a solo artist's debut album
I was anxious to hear this album after hearing Frank Ocean perform "Bad Religion" on Jimmy Fallon. Unfortunately, After listening to the whole thing, that song and another, "Thinkin' Bout You", are the only ones I really like. He has a great voice and a smooth style, but the other songs just don't move me. I have to say that the "Pyramid" song is...
Published on December 13, 2012 by Kevin P Nixon


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112 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2012 R&B from Frank Ocean, July 12, 2012
This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
First, the statement/announcement made on Frank Ocean's tumblr earlier this month...

It's significant and quite frankly, `Radical.' Right now, it's almost impossible to write a review without talking about, or at least mentioning, the letter. Read it if you haven't already. It's important. And at the time this review was written, tons of celebrities have already offered their reactions, read: Russell Simmons, Chuck D, Solange Knowles, Stephen Hill, and then, of course Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. And many others, to follow, I'm sure.

But enough about the letter. There's music to talk about and questions to answer. Like, is this album any good? Does André 3000 deliver on the track `Pink Matter?' And, what does the John Mayer collaboration track actually sound like? Let's start by answering all of that right now: yes, the album is very good. Yes André 3000 delivers (and more) on arguably, and probably, one of the better (if not best) tracks of this record. And John Mayer doesn't say anything because `White' is an instrumental track and it sounds like what you would expect: Frank Ocean and John Mayer, in the studio, jamming together. But the track is chill, virtuosic and pretty damn good. And for a track that doesn't seem to say much, it says a lot, even without any lyrics. But onto the album itself, as a whole.

First and foremost, for those not in-the-know, Frank Ocean is 24, he's an R&B singer, and yes, he is a member of the infamous Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective/crew/group/club (what-have-you) Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA). And when I listen to the record, I think R. Kelly and Kid Cudi and Kanye West, largely because Channel Orange sounds like all of the good things from all of those artists, (the singing from R. Kelly, the synth-laden soundscapes and beats from Kid Cudi and the charisma, coolness and confidence of Kanye West, albeit a little more low-key) all packaged into one neat little box, or I guess, CD case (or MP3 download or Vinyl).

People are probably going to be talking about Channel Orange for a little while. Probably, because of the letter, and also, because of how damn good it is. The most talked-about/hyped album right now, for sure. So again, you may want to know, is Channel Orange any good? In short, yes, it's damn good.

This is a solid and cohesive album, 17 tracks in all, complete with intros, instrumental interludes and outros (yeah, we definitely called those skits back in the 90s and early 00s) but everything on Channel Orange sounds focused and with purpose. And I say `focused' and `with purpose' because Channel Orange is not littered with guests. Just Earl Sweatshirt, John Mayer (who doesn't even sing or anything, remember that!) and André 3000. The track titles themselves are pretty remarkable (I think) and full of gumption (`Super Rich Kids,' `Pyramids,' `Pink Matter,' `Forrest Gump,' etc.) and rest assured, it never drags (55 minutes and then some).

Album highlights include:

Thinkin Bout You
Sweet Life
Super Rich Kids (feat. Earl Sweatshirt)
Pilot Jones
Pyramids
White (feat. John Mayer)
Bad Religion
Pink Matter (feat. André 3000)

As a whole, Channel Orange is, quite honestly, probably the definitive R&B album this side of 2012. And this is what 2012 R&B sounds like. So, Channel Orange is probably what I mean when I write things like "timeless music," and "summer music," and "really good," and "this means something," but... in the end "i don't know anything & neither do you."
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof That Simplicity Still Works., July 14, 2012
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This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
I won't even go too in-depth with this review. The title is the whole point. In the days where electro-dance-house-pop is storming the airways and the iPods, Frank Ocean comes out swinging with a debut album with an odd freshness to classic R&B styles. He is refreshing, game-changing, and purely and simply certainly one of the greats. Mr. Ocean has LOTS of success in his future. He is candid, charming, sensual, silly, and heartfelt in his lyrics and delivery -- not to mention those super-polished imperfect pipes.

This album will be a classic, if it can't be considered one already. Do yourself a favor, and let Frank Ocean take you back.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb & Extremely Creative; Different From Every Other R&B Effort, July 12, 2012
This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
Odd Future member Frank Ocean shocked everyone by choosing to release his channel ORANGE one week early exclusively on iTunes. He surprised some by his openness in regards to his sexuality, causing some industry prognosticators to question about career ramifications. Longterm effects take time to measure, but response to the early release was gargantuan, propelling Def Jam to distribute physical copies, urging retailers to sell immediately. Channel Orange is a very special `R&B' album; it is different from other R&B albums released in some time. Ocean's voice is a gem - soulful, nuanced, and commanding throughout - and throughout the seventeen tracks, Ocean never misses.

"Start," a :45 intro/interlude, gives way into the `alternative,' creative vibe Channel Orange subscribes too. A rather random palette of sounds characterizes it, including text message alerts. The `underground' side from Odd Future transfers here.

"Thinkin Bout You" is a tour de force. Minimalist, yet soulful, simple yet complex, "Thinkin Bout You" showcases modern R&B sans the gimmickry of Europop crossover trends that have come to characterize it. Ocean shifts between chest and head voice (falsetto) like a pro, making "Thinkin Bout You" a vocal masterclass. Add the power of the pen upon the refrain and the hit is realized: "Or Do You Not Think So Far Ahead/Cuz I been thinkin bout forever..." "Fertilizer," another odd-ball, :39 interlude follows, containing an old-school soul sound and some creative lyrics.

"Sierra Leone" is clever, playing not only upon the country, but treats `Sierra Leone' as a lady. Ocean half speaks/half sings, in cerebral fashion, delivering some outlandish, though clever lyrics: "We're spending too much time alone/and I just ran out of Trojans/Horses Gallop to her throne/we're behaving like teenagers..." Highlights include soulful production, harmonized background vocals, and soulful lead by Ocean.

"Sweet Life" continues to stroke the momentum, retaining soul and minimalism in tandem with one another. With Pharrell Williams producing, the sound is epic, particularly when the full fruition of production enters on the refrain that deals with `the rich life': "You've Had a Landscaper and a housekeeper/since you were born/the star shine always kept you warm/so why see the world/when you got the beach..."

"Not Just Money" is a :59 interlude, following up "Sweet Life's" accusatory points and preceding "Super Rich Kids," featuring Earl Sweatshirt. Another noble cut, "Super Rich Kids" contains an interpolation of "Real Love." Again playing on `money,' Ocean delivers a punch with his hook "Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends/super rich kids with nothing but fake friends..." Horns eventually are added to strengthen the production and overall sound while Earl Sweatshirt delivers a solid rap/spoken world contribution.

"Pilot Jones" doesn't lack in concept, coming off as bizarre as everything else. "We Only had things in common/now the only thing we share is the refrigerator/ice cold baby/I told you I'm ice cold/You out here flying high...but fly alone...," Ocean sings. The vocal production is `spot on.'

"Crack Rock" is what it claims to be, detailing breaking up a family because of drug addiction. Ocean sports his low register with the results being exceptional. The message is weighty, but the cut is enjoyable.

"Pyramids" is epic for many reasons. Clocking in at nearly ten minutes, it combines two different songs, though both revolving around the same topic. The production is modern and well conceived with its array of synthetic sounds. Contrasting any and everything else, "Pyramids" is interesting if for nothing else than Ocean references cheetahs, Queen Cleopatra, and love in one song.

"Lost," continues to exhibit sound songwriting, particularly on the refrain as Ocean sings: "Now You're lost in the heat of it all/Girl you know you're lost/lost in the thrill of it all/Miami Amsterdam Tokyo Spain Lost..." Vocally, Ocean continues to dominate."White," features John Mayer playing guitar, providing an interlude produced by Tyler, The Creator (drum programming).

"Monks," opens with an organ-like patch to initiate the cut. As he does throughout, Ocean shifts through vocal registers, ending up in his upper register for "I never ask for much/but please keep up lover..." With a change of pace (switch-up), Ocean keeps "Monk" from ever feeling predictable.

"Bad Religion" is easily one of the efforts best. Opening with organ and eventually adding strings to heighten dramatic effect, Ocean sings his heart out here. Ocean's voice is characterized by nuances including cracks and crevices that are nearly indescribably soulful. Topped off by killer lines in "...if it brings me to my knees/it's a bad religion" or "Unrequited love/to me it's nothing but a one man cult..." makes "Bad Religion" epic.

"Pink Matter" adds André 3000 to the mix, delivering another mysterious, captivating cut. Ocean handles the first portion of the song, which is capped off by an intense second iteration of the refrain which finds Ocean belting in intensity: "...Giving me pleasure/pleasure... pleasure over matter..." André 3000 seals the deal in usual `oddball fashion' and even manages a play on Ocean's name: "Well Frankly when the Ocean so...good"

"Forrest Gump" satisfies as the final full length track, making overt references to the Academy Award Winning film. "End" closes the album much like "Start" began, though it is longer in duration.

Overall, channel ORANGE is quite a masterpiece. The lyrics are quite intellectual, the songs themselves creative, and Ocean is a `force to be reckoned with.' There are elements of traditional R&B, pop-rap, alternative music, and a number of influences. Ocean puts the pieces together magnificently to create one of the best albums of 2012 so far. Highly recommended.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What R&B should be, July 17, 2012
This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
Frank Ocean's album "Channel Orange" is what R&B should be. Its production is creative, the lyrics tell a good story, and Ocean has a good falsetto and soulful voice. Too much R&B nowadays is generic and/or features uninteresting lyrics. The beats here are original sounding and ambitious, and the story telling here is atypical in urban music. The story telling is more typical of what you'd hear on an indie rock record.

From the start, I admired Ocean's talents as a singer and producer. Ocean is the only member of Odd Future whom I'm a fan of. I have mixed feelings about Tyler and the rest of the group. There's a lot of creative production in their work, but the sadistic lyrics spoil it (that's a whole other story).

The style of "Channel Orange" is comparable to some of Prince's earlier work, in that its R&B music with beats and production that are unconventional. A modern comparable work would be Drake's "Take Care" album. Like most of "Take Care", "Channel Orange" is always reflective and melancholy. There are no fun, upbeat, poppy songs here. Sometimes the songs deal with love, sometimes with socioeconomic issues. Vocally, Ocean follows the style of slow jam singers.

I don't think there was a single song that I dislike on this album. My favorite ones: "Thinkin Bout You", "Bad Religion", and "Forrest Gump" are ballads that reflect on relationships. "Super Rich Kids" tells the story of hedonistic, aimless rich kids. "Crack Rock" tells the story of drug-addled lady friend. "Pyramids" is probably the best song on the album. It is a 9 minute, guitar flavored track that probably mixes seven or eight different genres.

My only complaint is that the album is slow and mellow throughout and could have had a few more upbeat songs. Prince is an idiosyncratic R&B artist, and his 80s albums included lots of upbeat songs. Drake's album included several club tracks.

To those who say that R&B is dead, this album proves you wrong.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars R&B Is Important Again!!!, July 21, 2012
This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
I declared R&B dead until I heard R, Kelly's Write Me Back. After hearing Frank Ocean's Channel Orange, I have hope that real R&B will return to the forefront. This album is simply amazing. My Favorite songs are Pink Matter, Super Rich Kids, Bad Religion and Sweet Life. Support this man!!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frank Ocean Gives R&B a New Suit, July 19, 2012
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This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
Just the week before this album made its first digital release, I was complaining to my friends about how its almost impossible to find NEW quality R&B. That the only way you'd be able to listen to new good songs were if you knew about Frank Ocean, Cocaine 80s, and had Raheem Devaughn's latest mixtape.

Right after that Frank Ocean drops this masterpiece and inspires hope in my heart for the future of R&B.

Its soulful.

The lyrics are romantic.

He's a young guy but he's keeping it grown and sexy.

His singing ability is phenomenal.

The production is of top quality and the beats are very sophisticated.

When he wants you to feel love, you will feel it. When he wants you to feel hope, you will feel it. When he wants you to feel dispair, you will feel it. But by the end of it all, you will just feel happy you took this emotional roller coaster.

Its been a very long time since you could feel a new R&B artist's heart beat through his music.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, It's THAT Good, July 17, 2012
By 
This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
A tornado flew around our world in the summer of 2012. They called it channelOrange. The storm began with a poetic revelation and grew into a torrent of speculation and anticipation. When the tornado finally hit, a week earlier than we expected, it upended long held notions of black maleness, mesmerized everyone in its path, and introduced a new musical star to the universe. The man who unleashed the tornado is aptly named Frank Ocean.

Start to End, chO is a raging musical and lyrical storm. Once caught up, it's hard to escape. Window-rattling bass, dreamy organs, and other stereophonic treats creep through the speakers and carry you off to a world of cheetahs, crack heads, and cotton candy. Andre 3000 shows up to make us wonder why other rappers even bother. Ocean's buttery vocals narrate the journey, and he consumes every juicy lyric down to the gristle.

When he sings the chorus on Thinking About You (...I been thinkin' bout forever), or moves from pleasure to PLEASURE to PLEAsure on Pink Matter, or is brought to his knees by Bad Religion, you FEEL that shit. Tears threaten when he sings the last few lines of Forrest Gump: "This is love/I know it's true/I won't forget you." You forget who he's singing to because you're nearly overcome by the love and pain in his voice.

Echoes of Prince (Lost, Pilot Jones), Musiq Soulchild (Sweet Life), Curtis Mayfield (Sierra Leone), and D'Angelo (Crack Rock) ring through chO, but like any great artist Ocean takes what's old (everything) and makes it golden. Hang out on the roof and listen to Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt pity Super Rich Kids, or spend 9 thrilling minutes with Cleopatra at the Pyramid to witness chO's devastation of the current musical landscape. Frank Ocean ain't playin'.

On top of killing it musically, lyrically and vocally with chO, Ocean also whisks away all previous notions of what it means to be an RnB dude in the 21st C, i.e. one who pops no bottles, stacks no paper, and sees women in more than 1 dimension. Like Stevie, Marvin and Donny Hathaway, Ocean is way wider and deeper than that, making thoughtful, finely crafted music that moves us inside and out. And it just plain sounds good!

On the flip, I would've added another uptempo mixtape track (maybe Whip Appeal or Dream Killa) to brighten the collection just a smidge, but that's an infinitesimal quibble. When the tornado finishes raging, and the hype and muck have settled, channelOrange will still be running on our minds, boy. The music gets inside you and takes over, like love. All you can do is close your eyes, fall into it, and let it give you pleasure.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll be glued to channel orange, July 15, 2012
By 
This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
With all the recent hype surrounding Frank Ocean, I hoped his debut album would deliver. I needn't have feared, "Channel Orange" more than lives up to the hype; avant garde, yet still accessible

A brief synth intro "Start" does just that (a piece titled "End" closes it), before we get to the spare moody synth ballad "Thinkin' `Bout You" which finds him switching from lower register to falsetto in the blink of an eye. "Sierra Leone" is a trippy echoey spoken/sung number which reminds one of Shuggie Otis. The groovy piano-sprinkled "Sweet Life" recalls Musiq Soulchild in places. The plodding "Super Rich Kids" is set to a beat/riff similar to Elton John's "Bernie And The Jets" with Marvin Gaye-style harmonies and lyrics taking a look at the hedonistic lifestyle of rich kids. "Too many joyrides in Daddy's Jaguar" he sings before declaring "I'm looking for a real love".

"Pilot Jones" is a spare hazy number set to finger snaps."Crack Rock" tells of the hazards of cocaine use, while the epic 10 minute "Pyramids" is a multi-part tempo-shifting masterpiece with a John Mayer guitar solo and lyrics about time travelling from ancient Egypt to Las Vegas. Mayer also appears on the brief Jazzy instrumental interlude "White". "Lost" is chugging Pop with a tinge of Rock, "Monks" is a free form Soul/Jazz piece, the organ-laced sweeping ballad "Bad Religion" evokes Stevie Wonder ("I can never make him love me... It's a bad religion to be in love with someone who can never love you" he sings), while "Forrest Gump" features some nice Blues guitar.

My favourite is the tender ballad "Pink Matter" which starts off stripped, with bass and beats coming in halfway, André 3000 giving a spit fire bridge, soft guitar twangs, and heart rending vocals from Ocean.

Every once in a while, an artist arrives who changes the rules of the game. Frank Ocean is one of such. A Masterpiece!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple, March 16, 2013
By 
Curmudgeon (central Colorado) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
I'm an old white guy who isn't interested in the LA "scene" and who has only a passing interest in R&B music. But, I saw all the hype about this album and listened on Spotify. Turns out I was hooked. This is a beautifully produced, complexly layered, completely integrated album--it holds together, but each song is distinct. It gets better with each listen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars <3 <3 <3 <3, July 16, 2012
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This review is from: channel ORANGE (Audio CD)
I am soooo in love with this album! I haven't been this excited about an artist since the 90's!!! I"m obsessed with Mr.Ocean and his talent, in a good way lol....Soundtrack to my summer, hands down! But I'm so bummed his NYC was sold out and I can't see him live :( I know I'll have sooooo many opportunities to see him because he'll be around for a very long time :)I can go on and on this music is so organic and pure, just what music needed! Oh and Amazon rocks!
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channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean (Audio CD - 2012)
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