6 January 2013

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Is it a departure to listen to this album for me?  This album was voted album of the year in a Poll of Polls ran by the UK record store HMV which looks at the top albums of the year in various magazines and does a average of the positions and comes up with an average. But that is not what drew me to listen to this, nor was it his other band OFWGKTA - for the record, not a fan of them.  It is not that they are bad, just not my cup of tea - or the fact he has announced he is homosexual - for the record, it should not be a big thing for people to be honest but I am happy that he has had the courage to do so in a very judgemental music industry - no it was the fact his first few singles were very interest.  Sort of like early Prince and a bit of Stevie Wonder in there too, also the man have a fantastic voice when he is singing.

With this being his debut and with only a mix tape release before this and my hesitation of his other work I put this on with a sense of trepidation.  I also tend to steer clear of bands that have been give such high praise and it took me a while to sit down to this.  First listen and impression - I did not like it.  I had many issues with it.  I actually had a blog written out which was not one of my nicest pieces of work.  But I could not finish the blog, there was something that would not let me put it out.  It was not the fact that it would be cruel to say I did not like it, or give me grief if people who liked him got offended.  It was that my first impression was a case of listening to it in the total wrong mood.

With this album it is a chilled out affair, you get the feeling this was recorded in a room which was so smoked fill that anything that entered would float out. It is laid back to the point of vertical and owes a lot to Prince and Stevie Wonder (why is it tonight I feel like I am saying 'Owes a lot' far too much).  Stand out tracks for me are "Lost" the 9 minute plus "Pyramids", "Sierra Leone" and the instrumental "White".  Not everything on here is for me, a bit of a contradiction in places but nothing that make me want to scream - "Super Rich Girls" for instance I could still do with hearing and I was disappointed by "Pink Matter" which should have soared but coasted.  If I am honest, even with the reflection I do not feel that this was the album of last year. Now not saying that it is poor, but the Jessie Ware album is better than this one, and that was also in the top ten of the Poll of Polls and did not get half the praise that this one has. 

As a modern Stevie Wonder, Frank Ocean has started something good here, a few changes and he will be unstoppable.  But he is not the full article yet, there are a few things that he needs to change before he gets to the level of praise he is currently receiving.  I have a feeling on the evidence of the positives on here that he will achieve it.  If that turns out to be the case I will be purchasing the albums, but this album is a Pandora's box.  Something has been opened and he may find it hard to go back to what he was before and is that a bad thing?  This man's voice needs to be heard and I am sure it will be improving with time if he is lead by the right hands. The mark might seem harsh and maybe it might be, but it is an improvement on my initial response and I am glad I went back.

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

You can purchase from here

You can listen to it here on Spotify

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