Frank Ocean released a live stream of Channel Orange today, and though many people are tuning in for the sensationalism, be prepared to hear an amazing piece of work that sets the precedence for other R&B and soul projects to come.
The lyrics, written by Ocean, are vivid and create visuals that leave you in a Channel Orange trance. Being Kanye West’s mentee, it’s no surprise to hear his use of live instruments, which most artists have abandoned during the mixtape era. The production is amazing — incomparable to anything that is out right now. Working with producer Malay for five of the 17 songs, it’s obvious that he had quite a bit of influence in constructing the smooth feel of this album.
Ocean is bringing back the R&B sound that many of us have been longing for. Starting off with ‘Thinking Bout You,” Ocean captivates his audience with is countertenor tone in his hook.
Those looking for an established artist to compare Ocean to, think Musiq Soulchild. Songs like “Sweet Life” and “Super Rich Kids” bring that adored sound that exposed the neo-soul scene to the world. Singing about topics of love, the abuse of drugs, and real-life scenarios without spelling it out, the listener is able to find their own connection in his music.
“Pyramids” has a very up-tempo disco soul feel that slows down to a sexy soulful song with the use of electric guitars that reminds you of Prince, but the format in the transition is very Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak. “Lost” continues the upbeat feel before he brings us back to chill mode.
André 3000 makes an appearance on “Pink Matter,” which was a perfect addition to the song and album overall. Songs like “Bad Religion” and “Forest Gump” finish off the album, and will have it’s listeners over analyzing every word due to Ocean’s outing by the media.
Channel Orange evokes emotions that many attempt to describe. What Ocean proves is that you can’t reinvent the wheel, but while staying true to yourself, use what works. Frank Ocean is the future of music. Please support Channel Orange on July 17.
Take a listen below. It’s currently on repeat in the rolling out studio.