channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 1, 2013
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Christopher Francis Ocean, better known as Frank Ocean, has really made a dent in today's R&B. Releasing his debut studio album, “Channel Orange,” in July 2012, he set the bar for similar artists. This album (following his mixtape “Nostalgia, Ultra” in 2011) has received extremely positive feedback. His writing style that reflects on the past, as well as his unusual arrangements, makes him stand out from other R&B artists. Ocean took a risk to be different, and that really paid off.

A song of seemingly lavish lifestyles and a never-ending supply of money, “Super Rich Kids” is Ocean's take on class and wealth. Continuous piano chords carry you through this song majestically. It contains a sense of judgment: “Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends. Super rich kids with nothing but fake friends.” He leaves you wondering whether wealth is worth the issues it comes with.

A song that is straight to the point and about adoring a deadbeat drug addict, “Pilot Jones” has no chorus and flows in an airy form. It starts with Ocean speaking of how he and this mysterious person no longer have anything in common. She is addicted to a substance, while the singer is addicted to her. The beat and lyrics are mellow and relaxing. This song is totally constructed of bass, finger snaps, and Ocean's raw voice, but they mesh together perfectly to create a beautiful, strong message. Ocean's heartbreak in these lyrics blends flawlessly.

“Crack Rock” is about the addictions that Ocean has seen, and he's sharing his knowledge. He captures the pain of drug addiction shockingly well. Ocean sings, “your family stopped inviting you to things, won't let you hold an infant,” which portrays addiction in a way most people don't think about. His voice gets a bit harsh here but remains sympathetic. Overall “Crack Rock” is about loss and depression.

“Bad Religion” is filled to the brim with meaning. An organ plays at the start, indicating a funeral. It feels like this is the end, and here's Ocean, lost in heartbreak. How could this song not relate to everyone? He's trying to get away from it all, and he resorts to a taxi cab. “Taxi driver, be my shrink for an hour/Leave the meter running, just outrun the demons, could you?” This is one of the strongest tracks. It doesn't matter who you are, everyone has had a night like this.

“Channel Orange” deserves a 10 out of 10. Ocean has proven to be one of the most advanced songwriters of his time. He recently won two Grammys – one for Best Urban Contemporary Album and another for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Ocean shows he is one of a kind by creating vivid imagery and soul-touching lyrics in every song he writes.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Mckay This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm
This is precisly what a review should be. It's detailed and shows/tells me why this album is fantastic. I love how you decipher some of the songs. Ocean is a fantastic artist. Great review displaying his artistry. 
Site Feedback