Frank Review on Channel Orange

By Nonkululeko Sibambato

Frank Ocean is setting the music scene ablaze with his authentic, fearless lyrics which are painfully honest and open about his heartbreak. Ironically his debut album came out a week after Ocean posted an open letter on the 4th of July on Tumblr about his experience with unrequited love, heartbreak and the feelings he had for a man when he was 19 years old. Ocean refers to this man in the final track of the album Forrest Gump, ‘Forrest Gump, you run my mind boy.’
The 24 year old artist who is signed to Def Jam released his mixtape ‘Nostalgia, ULTRA’ for free on Tumblr in 2011. Ocean can be compared to the likes of The Weekend and Drake and Lana Del Rey.

Frank Ocean’s debut album is a melancholic and oddly hopeful tale of reckless, unrequited love. Channel Orange is a tale of a bittersweet battle of love and serves as a confessional for Ocean as the story teller of this saga. This album cannot be summed into one genre; it is a mix of RnB, jazz funk, pop soul and electro.

Ocean worked closely with the producer of album Malay. Some parts of the album were mixed by mix engineer Spike Stent. The recording equipment used for Channel Orange was from the 1960s as production heightened instrumentation.  

The artists featured on the album boast the likes of Pharell who co-wrote and co-produced the song /Sweet Life/, John Mayer who played the guitar on the tracks //Pyramids// and //White// and Andre 3000 on the song /Pink Matter/. Odd future rapper Earl Sweathshirt is also featured on the track /Super Rich Kids /however his part is unclear and mumbled.

The longest song on the album which is almost 10 minutes long was produced by Ocean himself. //Pyramids// refers to Cleopatra and the history of black women and their decline from their previous roles as Goddess’s in Africa to their now degrading roles as pieces of meat in the Western world. This is possibly the best song on the album because of the song structure and the rhymes that seem to pop out of nowhere.

Frank Ocean is capable of singing circles around his competitors because of his authenticity and creative lyrics. /Channel Orange /has the feel and sound of a mixtape and quite frankly when it comes to which one is the best, /Nostalgia ULTRA/ appears to be one of Ocean’s best works thus far. This simply shows the complexity of this artist and how he can go within the music scene.


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