Singer Frank Ocean previewed tracks off his highly-anticipated debut album, Channel Orange, Thursday (June 21) at KMA Studios, tucked above the forever bustling streets of Times Square in New York City.
The 24-year-old’s fans will be excited to know the album has a feature from Andre 3000on a song titled “Pink Matter.”
With Channel Orange, due July 17, the Odd Future crooner delivers more than just a solid record; he’s a storytelling genius on the LP, a quality that has been missing from many new artists. The tracks are pulled together by experimental interludes including video game sound effects, dialogues and planes taking off and crashing.
The album borrows from a mixture of genres, with elements of jazz, rock and electro sprinkled throughout the R&B-centric songs. There’s also ranges in tempo, incorporating a sometimes heavy and cold feel but at other times a warming effect. Ocean’s voice smoothly crusades along the tracks into a deep, soulful fantasy world, conjured up from his own wondering mind.
Once inside this sphere, Ocean takes on topics of love, alienation, drug use, religion and philosophy, similar to his Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape, released in February 2011. But this time, he adds bang and boost to the sounds with live instrumentation that accompany his lyrics. Ocean’s words are full of vivid imagery, which also serve as a mirror to reflect society’s beauty and flaws.
On “Super Rich Kids,” led in by a piano, he highlights absentee parents who allow money to raise their children. “The maids come around too much/ Parents never come around often enough,” the New Orleans native sings.
Throughout the album, Frank Ocean gives a view of conflict and sorrow, never concealing his own vulnerability in not knowing all the answers to his problems.
During the Andre 3000-assisted, down-tempo track “Pink Matter,” he ponders, “What if the stars and skies are a show/ And the aliens are watching live?”
It’s this visual irony that allows Ocean to create songwriting that transforms listeners’ encounters with drab daily news, reality and heartbreak into audible refreshments.
“Thinking About You,” the 10-minute long “Pyramids,” “Forrest Gump” and “Voodoo,” all tracks either previously released or those he previewed for fans while on tour, will also be on the album. However, there are many more unreleased goods that round out the impressible opus.