“Nostalgia, Ultra” is my favourite Frank Ocean project. However, “Channel Orange” and “Blonde” are both a close second. “Channel Orange” was one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2012. Even though Frank had announced the release date (17.07.12) at the time, he digitally dropped his debut album a week early to avoid any leaks.
The critically acclaimed album was promoted with five singles - “Thinkin Bout You”, “Pyramids”, “Sweet Life”, “Lost” & “Super Rich Kids”. It explores many themes including class, unrequited love, relationship issues and the degradation of black women. The album can be categorised as alternative R&B as it intertwines R&B with funk, pop, electronic etc. to make this eclectic cocktail.
With contributions from Pharrell; Earl Sweatshirt; André 3000; James Fauntleroy; Malay; John Mayer; Tyler, The Creator; Shea Taylor etc. it’s easy to understand why the finished product was well received. To this day, “Pyramids” is still my favourite song and video on the album but “Lost” is a close second. There’s other songs on the album that I love but “Pyramids” taps into emotions I can’t quite explain.
As much as there’s more alternative R&B artists now, “Channel Orange” (and “Nostalgia, Ultra”) contributed to further growth in the genre and diverted more attention to the genres overlooked and/or up and coming artists.