channel ORANGE – Frank Ocean

Released July 10, 2012 this debut album is an unconventional mix of styles and genres; focusing mainly on the theme of unrequited love. It peaked at number 1 on both the US and UK charts and is certified gold in both countries. It has been named as one of the best albums of 2012 by most publications.

Jason: So, Frank Ocean. When this came up on the list I thought “Oh I will know all of these songs.” I knew none.

Brad: That’s surprising because I played this one a lot when it first came out.

Jason: I don’t pay attention. There is a band “Trails and Ways” that covers “Lost” so I knew that song but only their version which is partly en espanol.

Brad: I’ve heard you play that cover and I remember you being surprised to learn it was a Frank Ocean song.

Jason: Again, I don’t pay attention. The other song I knew was from that Vine video. The song is “Thinkin Bout You” but she says potato instead of tornado and it still makes me laugh.

Brad: I love that Vine! Now I hear that every time I listen to “Thinkin Bout You”. There are so many songs I love on this one. 

Jason: What did you think when you first discovered this album?

Brad: I instantly loved it when it first came out. I also loved that he came out right before it was released. He knew that he would have to deal with the press questions about the pronouns on the album so he dealt with that before releasing it. 

Jason: It’s a very original album. Were you familiar with him or his mixtapes before this? 

Brad: He released several of these songs before the album was released so I was looking forward to the full album. He doesn’t perform live that often and I was lucky to see him at Lollapalooza shortly after this was released. He was great. Definitely lived up to the hype.

Jason: I really like the song “Super Rich Kids” it’s simple but really smart, subtle, and it’s kind of a slow jam.

Brad: Yeah, I like it too. The piano on that always makes me think of “Bennie and the Jets”.

Jason: Yes! Buh-buh-buh by the way, is he doing a callback to Robin S on “Super Rich Kids”? He sings “Real love, I’m searching for a real love.”

Brad: Robin S is “Show Me Love”. Mary J sings “Real Love”.

Jason: Oh right, Duh.

Brad: I think my favorite songs are “Pyramids”, “Lost”, “Bad Religion” and “Forrest Gump”.

Jason: I wonder why they bleep out “shit” on “Forrest Gump” and why is it called that? 

Brad: Not sure. I assume “Forrest Gump” is about having a crush on a dumb jock?

Jason: Oh. That sort of makes sense. I assume it was because he wanted to have sex with Tom Hanks (jk). On the Spotify track the last song is “End” but on the CD it’s “End/Golden Girl”. Is that song actually about Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, or Sophia? 

Brad: I don’t think so but it should be.

Jason: Well, if so then we would have known his sexuality immediately. Surprisingly, John Mayer is on a song called “White” (because John Mayer is very white). I was wondering how they collaborated but Mayer just plays guitar on that instrumental song, correct? 

Brad: Yeah, that’s correct. Lately I keep hearing about how John Mayer is very influential to so many younger stars. It keeps surprising me. I’ve heard how he is a mentor to Shawn Mendes, Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran. I don’t like John Mayers music that much but I appreciate that.

Jason: Mayer must have something that insiders see which you and I do not. He seems kind of generic but perhaps he’s really talented and kind? Or maybe he has dirt on a lot of people. Although mentoring some other blando kids like Mendes and Sheeran isn’t all that amazing. BTW, wikipedia says that “Super Rich Kids” samples “Bennie and the Jets” (as well as “Got to Give it Up” by Marvin Gaye and “Real Love” by Mary J. Blige as you correctly, and I incorrectly, pointed out.)

Brad: That makes sense. And you better credit Marvin Gaye. His estate isn’t playing around.

Jason: Oh mercy, mercy me they are not. I had to get permission just to type his name. You know what I like about channel ORANGE is that it’s really different and every song is good. You can tell he was pushing the genre forward.

Brad: Yeah, and he has released two album since this one. Both within days of each other. One of which was a surprise video album. So he’s doing his own thing and I love that.

Jason: I appreciate musicians that make music when it’s right for them not just because it’s been a year. It’s like that time you were at the Virgin Megastore to get Sade’s new album and the clerk was like “You shouldn’t buy this album she waits too long to make music” like there is some calendar that says an artist has to do things when and the way the public demands it.

Brad: Yes! While I really want a new Sade album, she works at her own pace and I’m thankful whenever it happens. I do really want a new Frank Ocean album too.

Jason: He will when he is ready. I’d rather have something meaningful than fast.

Brad: I agree.

Jason: Here’s my dumb moment. In “Bad Religion” he says “Allahu akbar” and I thought he was saying “Admiral Ackbar” which is a Star Wars character.

Brad: Maybe he’s in a very futuristic taxi cab?

Jason: No, that was a long time ago. Also Ackbar died #spoileralert because you haven’t seen “The Last Jedi”. Also, you don’t know who that is anyway. Well, we’ve veered into a topic far, far away from Frank Ocean. Let’s get back on course.

Brad: I think he probably has the talent and potential to release an even greater album than this one but this is a pretty great start. 

Jason: What letter grade do you give this? 

Brad: I am giving this an A-.

Jason: I am going A- as well and I will check out his other albums too.

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Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.

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  1. Pingback: 100 Albums Bucket List | Jason S Steele

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