‘Channel Orange’ Frank Ocean
In this cynical world, Frank Oceans timing in revealing his sexuality seems a bit curious: The Tumblr-page announcement that shook the urban music world came less than two weeks before the release of his sophomore album, Channel Orange, bringing him an avalanche of publicity and making him the most celebrated figure in music at the moment.
It would all seem a bit manufactured – if we were talking about a lesser artist. But the 24-year-old Ocean – who already had music fans in the know enraptured by his self-released nostalgia, ULTRA last year – is so genuine in his artistry that its unthinkable that anything else in his mind could be contrived.
In many ways, Channel Orange picks up where nostalgia, ULTRA left off: It continues on a similar musical path, filled with luscious, pillowy slow grooves (Thinkin Bout You, Pilot Jones), whirring electro beats (Pyramids) and retro-soul (Sweet Life). But Channel Orange digs deeper than just intriguing melodies and beats: Ocean gets political on Crack Rock and deeply personal on Bad Religion, where hes tormented by male lover who doesnt return the affection.
Of course, its Oceans same-sex declaration that has garnered him so much attention over the past few weeks. But anyone expecting Channel Orange to be some kind of gay pride statement may be disappointed.
As headline-grabbing as Oceans recent announcement was, the enduring story remains his talent.