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4.4 out of 5 stars100
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 17 August 2012
I had heard of Frank Ocean before this album, after listening to his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra repeatedly since I got my hands on a copy therefore when I heard about Channel Orange I was excited to see what he had to offer next. I can safely say that I was not disappointed.

Frank Ocean is one of the best musicians around right now. Listen to the album from start to finish and you'll have to hit repeat. My favourite track on here has to be Lost, closely followed by Bad Religion, where Ocean's vocal's are full of raw emotion.

9 minute long Pyramid is also fantastic. Earl Sweatshirt's vocals on Super Rich Kids, adds an extra element to the track which I really like. John Mayer and Andre 3000 also contribute to the album.

All in all it's a fantastic album and I don't think I could fault it in any way, picking out a favourite track is hard because I pretty much love them all.

I would definitely recommend this album, in fact I already have to the majority of my friends who know all love it too!
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By the time Frank Ocean made his recent broadcast television debut on the Jimmy Fallon show performing the epic "Bad Religion" the secret was out and so was Frank. His admission in a recent letter on that he was bi-sexual finally dragged hip hop with its often vicious homophobia screaming into the 21st century and hopefully the whole horrible façade of hyper-masculinity associated with the genre crumbles with it. What is as important as Ocean's letter is the fact that he has talent to spare and then more, as such "Channel Orange" sees the birth of a new and potentially huge star.

"Channel Orange" is much more than a hip hop album. It fits easily into an R&B framework and within its grooves are jazz, soul and rapping. It also is interspersed with musical fragments and interludes alia Kanye West (who Ocean has recorded with) where ideas literally spill over. The recent review in the Observer accurately describes an album where "beats run on after melodies recede, lonely guitars twang away in the margins, soundscapes overlap. The album, like the mixtape, is broken up with bursts of radio static, fragments of conversation, juddering tape-deck click". And yet at the core of Ocean's work are great songs. The sumptuous R&B ballad "Thinkin bout you" brings a huge burst of summer sun shining brightly into the dour pre Olympic grey of a British summer. The best days of Stevie Wonder are recalled on the pulsating beauty of "Sweet Life" one of the albums standouts where Ocean's vocals are at their best and throughout you can hear traces of other greats such as Al Green, Prince and Marvin Gaye. As with these artists Ocean is not afraid to tackle social issues. "Super Rich Kids" with Earl Sweat has a "Benny and Jets" style pounding backdrop on a song infused with pointed commentary on the class system in California. Equally the self explanatory "Crack Rock" talks of "smoking stones in abandoned homes" and the decent into drug hell. The big centrepiece of the album is the near 10 minute long "Pyramids" where Ocean throws in Tangerine Dream synths, lyrical references to Cheetahs and Cleopatra and a John Mayer guitar solo. It is where he shows his true potential on one of the best songs of 2012. The aforementioned "Bad Religon" is a big hymn like song where Ocean regrets "This unrequited love/ To me it's nothing but a one man cult and cyanide in my styrofoam cup/ I could never make him love me." Other great songs pepper the album not least "Pink Matter" with Andre 3000, the excellent "Monks" and the soulful "Forest Gump".

In a year that has already seen the superb invention of Death Grips much harder Public Enemy orientated "The Money Store" the release of "Channel Orange" represents more of soulful slow burn albeit it is highly commercial in parts. It is difficult not to swept up in the hype surrounding the release of "Channel Orange" with the Daily Telegraph calling it "magical" and the Times describing it as "astonishing". Frankly in terms of sheer invention it doesn't quite match "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and has a tough competitor in 2012 with the THEESatisfaction's "Awe Naturale" Yet it makes up for this with a set of songs destined to become recognised classics. Frank Ocean has served up a great album in "Channel Orange" and in the last analysis we would do well to worry less about his private life and concentrate more on his mercurial talent. What do think?
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on 18 July 2012
Right we all know the story of the letter that Frank posted up on tumblr so lets just forget about that for a few moments and actually focus solely on the music and the fantastic album we have before us.

For starters with an album of 17 tracks, Frank really is spoiling us. One thing that is obvious right from the start of listening to Channel ORANGE is that the production quality here is simply fantastic and is something that many other R'n'B artists really lack. It is no secret that Frank has always been a quality producer and composer but Channel ORANGE really shows off just how good he is and I can tell you that taking some time out and listening to this through a good pair of headphones is more than worth it.

Right onto the music itself. The format of Channel ORANGE is similar to that of his 2011 mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra whereby the tracks are often broken up by the sound of computer games and the sound of a skipping tape. The first real track is Thinkin Bout You which has been around for a while and is an excellent start to the album and it is easy to see how it relates to Frank 'coming out' earlier this year. The next three tracks are fairly standard Frank Ocean tracks but that doesn't mean that they are poor songs they are actually still of greater quality than most R'n'B singers around these days. The next standout track is Super Rich Kids which is another fantastic mix of quality production with clever lyrics and a verse from Earl Sweatshirt which will continue to grow on you I can guarantee it. Next up are Pilot Jones and Crack Jones which are two excellent chilled out tracks.

Pyramids is really where the album goes to another level! A 10 minute masterpiece which needs to be heard rather than me describing it which would just not do it any justice. Next with no holds barred Frank drops Lost which is another album highlight that has one of the finest hooks in urban music over the past 10 years at least. The instrumental track White with John Mayer allows to break up the pure high quality songs that fill up the last 6 spaces on the album and it is a nice chilled out track that showcases a little bit of John Mayer's brilliance with a guitar in his hand. The last four songs of Monks, Bad Religion, Pink Matter and Forrest Gump are excellent examples of just how good a lyricist Frank Ocean is and they have meaning behind them that many listeners will really appreciate. These four songs perfectly finish the album off in true style.

Overall I believe this to be the best album of 2012 so far and I wouldn't be surprised to find myself thinking it was the best album of the year as we head into 2013. So basically, go out, buy a copy, crack on the headphones and reap the benefits.
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on 26 December 2012
Every single time you listen to Channel ORANGE something new presents itself. It has to be, hands down, my favourite album of 2012 and I regret not finding it sooner. Frank Ocean is a powerful musician, with lyrics heightening your emotions. All in all, fantastic album.
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on 23 March 2013
Fantastic new music, fresh sounding, full of pathos..Almost a concept album when Cleopatra kicks in..Ive listened to a lot of fabulous music over the years but Ive never heard anything like this track and Pink Matter..Like every great artist he takes elements from all styles of music genres and has created something new..I predict this guy could be of huge relevance in the future...I find the music hard to define, but give it a listen you might just love it...I cant stop playing it...
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on 20 January 2013
I discovered this artist via a very positive review on the Guardian and I have not been disappointed. It is by far the best record of the genre I have heard for years. Franck Ocean has managed to deliver an album that hits the delicate balance between strong lyrics and suave instrumentals. I am particularly fond of the tracks Crack Rock, Pyramids and Lost. For once I can say the hype was justified.
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on 18 July 2012
Simply put the album is as good as you can get from an RnB work of art. Stand out tracks include the soulfull feelgood vibe of "Thinking Bout You", the head-bopping funk of "Super Rich Kids" the epic journey of "Pyramids" and then "Bad Religion and Pink Matter.
The rest of it, while not as good, or at least slow growers, aren't merely just fillers. They all contribute to the album.
It's not the kind of thing I would like normally but like NERD'Fly or Die, I've found myself strangely addicted to it.
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on 23 January 2013
Love every track on the album, highlights are Thinking bout you, and Lost. Recommend this to any RnB lovers, good for easy listening.
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on 15 March 2013
One of the greatest albums I have heard in a longtime. This album contains many classic songs like:

Thinking About You
Sweet Life
Forrest Gump
Bad Religion

Check out these songs on youtube or spotify, then purchase the album to support Frank Ocean.
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on 18 July 2012
There are already plenty of fans and critics discussing this artists sexuality, bravery, innovation etc and i'm going to try my level best not to add another hum-drum write up obsessing over all the familiar bases. instead i'll try to focus exclusively on how much i've enjoyed listening to this above any questions as to whether Mr Ocean is in fact the most talented member of Odd Future, the saviour of R&B, or potentially the best singer songwriter of this up and coming generation.

Channel Orange is said by some to be a loose concept album of a twentysomethings experience of living in LA, juxtaposing the glamour and the debauchery that runs through the heart of the cities wealthy inhabitants. In truth i think it's much closer to a collection of quasi love songs that are segued with clever observations and insights into our protaganists area of residence. As i'm sure you already know this is largely an R&B or as some prefer "Neo Soul" album, however it's not a typical one persay featuring more left of field instrumentation with old school charm; you can hear funky keyboards, sytnhesizers, soft rock drumming and abstract interludes throughout the 17 tracks on here.

Which brings me serendipitously to "Pyrimaids" easily the most ambitious song on channel Orange, featuring a suite of constantly changing ideas that range from boom bap soul to synthy psychedelia with enviable ease It's scope is a little like Kanye's similarly impressive Runaway from MBDTF. My personal favourites though are "Super Rich Kids" and "Bad Religion" the former featuring an inspired verse from the previously AWOL wonderkind rapper Earl and Frank Ocean's astutely disparaging lyrics detailing the disillusioned perceptions of the rich youth of Los angeles. Many have made comparisons to the characters in Bret Easton Ellis's first masterpiece Less Than Zero and i'd be suprised if Frank Ocean didn't take some inspirtaion from it.

"Bad Religion" is a touching ballad about his unrequited love for another man that features his most breathtaking vocals especially during the plaintive line "I could never make him love me". I can't quite agree with the vast majority of the reviews i've read about this being flawless i'm afraid, even though I enjoyed almost everything on Channel Orange i found some of the interludes superfluous and "Pilot Jones" and "Thinking About You" just a little too saccharin. Nevertheless, this is obviously an impressive collection of songs that deserve most of the considerable praise afforded to them.
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