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P-zus - Frank Ocean - Channel Orange - album review lyrics

“The best song wasn't the single”, declares Frank Ocean on 'Sweet Life'. And on first listen you genuinely believe him – the first few plays of Channel Orange give the feeling that these silky neo-soul numbers are slow burners which grow on you with each and every listen. It's something somewhat unidentifiable, but there is an underlying novelty that oozes a certain cla**, that allures and intrigues, that boasts a certain swagger. But not in an obnoxious way of course, this is Frank Ocean we're talking about – the most humble man in hip-hop, it's in a way that only he could articulate, given the trials and tribulations he has faced up to this point in his life

It can't have been an easy year for Frank Ocean, obviously the satisfaction of the success he has achieved recently must be rewarding, however with that success also came a limelight in which things got magnified intensely and before he knew it Stevie Wonder was calling him confused about his s**uality and Lil Wayne was claiming superiority over him for being straight. Coming to terms with something so personal, especially at this early stage in his career, can't have been straightforward at all and it can be reflected in his music

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Channel Orange conveys so many different shades and styles throughout - there is pain, joy, sorrow, hedonism, yearning, confusion, money, fame, nostalgia, jazz, funk, R&B, rock, soul, psychedelia and more. And to his credit, there is a coherence that binds all of the above together to create a sultry mix of intelligent pop music. It is primarily due to the pristine production and it's subtle uses of technological application coupled with the sheer artistic prowess of Frank and his collaborators. Unfortunately with Channel Orange though, Frank Ocean was wrong: the best song was in fact the single. ‘Pyramids' purposefully romps along before dropping the pace into a sumptuous coda showcasing Frank's ability to weave lush melody into his conversationally crooned anecdotes. The section also boasts arguably his finest, most concise, hook to date, with him simply singing – “Tonight, she's working at the Pyramid”

The other tracks on here aren't necessarily bad at all – ‘Thinkin Bout You' is equally as memorable, but it appears that he has tried to distance himself from writing catchy songs. Mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra showed us he could pen an undeniably strong melody with ease, however here, he has focused too much on cramming too many colours into such a wide range of material and it feels sporadic and difficult. Sure, the sleek production gives it a certain togetherness, but the idiosyncrasies of melody and overall structure are too farfetched at times – the unconvincing verse melodies, the confusing segues, the alarming variation in track length: it's Frank Ocean's Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy without the meticulous pop know-how of Mr. West

A lot has been made recently of commercial music becoming less intellectual due to the simple melodies, structures and lyrics used; with Channel Orange, Frank Ocean has intellectualised it too far. Maybe we can look back on it in a few years and say it was a landmark album for changing popular music, and I hope for Frank's sake that we can, but at the moment it's simply too much too soon

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