Overall: Overrated. Some musicality, some decent lyrics, but far from the greatest R&B album ever sold.
After a popular mixtape (Nostalgia Ultra) and notable work on Beyonce’s 4 and Jay-Z & Kanye West’s Watch the Throne, R&B artist Frank Ocean has finally released his 1st album on Island Def Jam records. Garnering the approval of several major music blogs and those in hip-hop media, Channel Orange has street credibility, but I’m curious to see how the debut will fare with the likes of Rolling Stone or Entertainment Weekly magazine. Although I appreciate the live instrumentation and Ocean’s attempt to offer thought-provoking lyrics, I feel the album fell short. Musically, the record is sleepily monotone; there are no dramatic or emotive orchestrations, nor major changes in tempo. Lyrically, there’s such a hard fought effort to be complex and poetic, it comes off a bit contrived. Popular entertainment site, GlobalGrind.com, called Channel Orange ‘the most groundbreaking R&B album since Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill;” an overblown compliment. I think much of the excitement surrounding this record is due to the fact that Orange doesn’t follow the trends of contemporary R&B. Deviating from the norm doesn’t automatically make an album great. No one has cats meowing on tracks; if an artist does that tomorrow, will we say they have one of the greatest albums of all time?