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What a fortnight it's been for the insanely talented Frank Ocean. It's not like the man's first proper album wasn't already positioned to be one of the more acclaimed releases of the year, given the love he'd already gotten for "Novacane", for Nostalgia, Ultra and for his work with certain superstars and his OFWGKTA extended family. But Frank managed to live up to the expectations and then some with Channel Orange, a record beautiful in its relative simplicity and honesty and in places, unexpected humor. There's a refreshing lack of mega-names on board. How nice to see an artist who know he doesn't need them. While he has every reason for that confidence, there is nothing entitled or arrogant about the man or the music.
What's your pleasure? The romantic fantasy of "Thinkin' Bout You"? The sparkling piano and hopeful sentiment of "Sweet Life"? The celebration and skepticism of "Super Rich Kids", with their maids, wines, Jaguars and fake friends--with a dash of Mary J.'s "Real Love" thrown in, as an inspired touch? The plain-spoken "Crack Rock"pulls no punches but doesn't go dark in its description of friends "shuckin and jiving" to get a fix, while the album's longest track, the lush "Pyramids" with its synth arpeggios and rich vocals, is a centerpiece highlight.
And on top of this delightful debut, what else has Frank Ocean been up to? Only rising to hero status in the eyes of many, for his moving, honest Tumblr post about a summertime same-sex romance. Less "coming out" as a declaration than as a simple, touching and natural story. That the move prompted widespread thumbs up from the likes of Beyoncé and Russell Simmons was not suprising. That it did so from his crazy pants pal Tyler, the Creator was nothing short of awesome. Noisevox joins them all in applauding Frank for what is, even today, even given the remarkable speed at which we all seem to be evolving on this stuff, still not an easy thing to do. We wish him a world of success with the excellent Channel Orange and advise you to discover it as soon as you possibly can.