Everyone's been talking about the highly anticipated album Channel Orange by Frank Ocean (previously member of Odd Future collective). I don't usually listen to a lot of R&B music but this dude's got talent. And unlike other R&B tracks, there's thought and meaning to his lyrics.
He's previously collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye West before deciding to go solo as a R&B / hip hop artist.
The review in music mag Rolling Stone sums up his new album perfectly (and better than I could do):
He's also his own man, a distinctive voice with no real analogue in R&B, or anywhere else in today's pop. Like his rapper comrades in the Odd Future collective, Ocean writes with a precise sense of place: His tales are laid in decadent, sun-dazzled L.A., a landscape teeming with privileged slackers ("Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends/Super rich kids with nothing but fake friends", unemployed guys mooching off their stripper girlfriends ("Pyramids", lovelorn sadsacks who pour out their hearts to Muslim cab drivers ("Bad Religion". He's a subtle storyteller, with a social consciousness that surfaces in heartbreaking details: the cash-strapped father in "Sierra Leone" who sings his infant daughter to sleep while thinking, "Baby girl, if you knew what I know," the addict in "Crack Rock" whose family has "stopped inviting you to things/Won't let you hold their infant." The music touches on Seventies funk, Eighties electro, and moody, downtempo hip-hop; there are chord changes straight out of Wonder's Innervisions, airy vamps that nod to Gaye's Here, My Dear, snarling guitars that recall Prince's Purple Rain. In "Pink Matter" (which features a guest verse by Andre 3000), Ocean fuses these sounds into a gorgeous, bluesy lament that takes in sex, betrayal, Japanese manga cartoons, extraterrestrials, and philosophical conundrums. "What do you think my brain is made for?" Ocean sings. "Is it just a container for the mind?/This great gray matter."
Slackness and self-indulgence seep in. Sometimes, Ocean is less a songwriter than a purveyor of formless grooves; his lyrics, which at their best whiplash from the mundane to the metaphysical, dissolve occasionally into New Agey goop. ("Feet covered in cut flowers/They mosh for enlightenment/Clean chakra good karma." Like his "progressive R&B" fellow traveler The Weeknd, Ocean has some hippie in him, and Channel Orange may be best absorbed with an ice blue bong close at hand.
But when Ocean reins himself in, tucking his words and melodies into tighter verse-chorus structures, the songs have startling force. "You know you were my first time, a new feel/It won't ever get old, not in my soul … Do you think about me still? ... 'Cause I been thinkin' 'bout forever." Ocean sings those lines in the woozy "Thinkin Bout You," his falsetto rippling over murmuring electronic percussion. It's a bisexual black bohemian New Orleanian-turned-Angeleno's avant-R&B torch ballad. And, of course, it's just a love song – an anthem for anyone, anywhere, who's found love, and lost it. Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/channel-orange-20120713#ixzz20jd8iaBb
To celebrate the release of his album, he's gone on tour and here are some videos of his gig in Seattle. He performed some of the hits from the new album for the very first time, as well as several jams from his critically acclaimed Nostalgia Ultra mixtape that first made him famous. Check them out below.
“Some people are already calling him the future of R&B music and I think they might be right.