This is the album I played most this year. Matter of fact, I played the shit out of this record, trying to sing like Frank Ocean, compensating for a lack of falsetto by nailing the rap parts. What a joy Channel Orange is to listen to and the lyrics are compelling. Take "Crack Rock" for instance where he sings: "Your family stopped inviting you to things/Won't let you hold their infant/You're smokin' stones in abandoned homes/You hit them stones and you broke your home/Crack rock crack rock crack rock." It strikes a chord with many of us who have seen a friend or relative devoured by drugs. No matter what advice you offer, you know it will only help if they make that decision to quit. A moment that ends up being both funky and upbeat while sounding sad and poignant. Kind of the whole album in a nutshell, very emotional yet fun as hell.
Call him the new Prince, Drake, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, or Marvin Gaye. Take your pick, he is all of these things and more. I loved the versatility throughout this album, and the songwriting kills. It's fresh, finally someone not afraid to try different things, and blur all boundaries. I found myself going back to Channel Orange day after day, mostly because it was unlike anything I've ever heard. Though I could make a zillion comparisons, the ideas still seemed new. I was challenged after each listen to dig deeper. "What was he saying here? What was he singing in this part?" A true sign of a good listen.
I just hope this man continues to challenge and soothe our ears for years to come.