by PJ Heatrh
Frank Ocean’s organic, eccentric album “Channel Orange” debuted in 2012, and it is still a grandiose auditory experience, as well as a gamechanger for the Black and LGBTQ+ communities.
“Channel Orange” became a body of work which served as the soundtrack to Ocean’s coming out as a bisexual, Black man, and in several of the songs he speaks vulnerably about his love for men as well as women.
It is an extremely powerful album not only for the Black and LGBTQ+ community, but it is universally dynamic and commands celebration by all people.
Some say that Ocean’s bravery and openness was one of the catalysts for other Black artists to come out and share their sexuality with the world such as Lil Nas X, Tyler the Creator, Janelle Monae and Kelani.
The album itself is unique in the sense that the beginning and end of each song sounds like the static of a person flipping through television channels.
These sounds are a play on words of the album name, a very quirky and clever addition to the songs that elevates the album to a different level of genius.
Additionally, Ocean touches on several personal, relatable topics such as love, obsession, hope, pain, sexual nature, loss and heartbreak. These topics mixed with his R&B, indie and rap layered textures make for a distinct and alluring album.
Ocean’s lyrics speak to the younger generations, and his boldness, fearlessness and power have encouraged people to explore their true selves and find fierceness in their identity.
His songs are engaging and practically visual due to his direct yet complex lyrics. Some of Ocean’s songs in the album have a level of mischief and sensuality that leave meaning to audiences’ own imagination and interpretation.
The album title originates from Ocean’s synesthesia with love and the color orange.
As defined by Cambridge Dictionary, synesthesia is a condition in which someone experiences things through their senses in a unique way. For example, experiencing a color as a sound or a number as a position in space. In Ocean’s case, he associates love, specifically the summer he first fell in love, with the color orange.
“Channel Orange” may be nearly 11-years-old, but it is a classic that is still extremely relevant, powerful, relatable and deserves a listen.