The Austin Chronicle Guide to SXSW 2017

Frank Ocean

Channel Orange (Def Jam)

Phases & Stages

Frank Ocean

Channel Orange (Def Jam)

Usher. R. Kelly. A D'Angelo revival in the works. 2012 is shaping up as quite a year for R&B. Inciting the highest celebration is Odd Future affiliate Frank Ocean and his major-label debut Channel Orange, an ethereal, embattled, and introspective work that puts everything in its right place in exactly the right form. There's a "Start" and there's an "End," and a decided middle in "Crack Rock" that leads into Channel Orange's darker, more truthful half. There's Earl Sweatshirt ("Super Rich Kids"), André 3000 ("Pink Matter"), and even John Mayer on an interlude ("White"), though you'd hardly know it without picking up the liner notes. Then there's Ocean, a relentless, conflicted talent who owns retro soul ("Fertilizer"), bites Mary J. Blige ("Super Rich Kids"), and gets sexual ("Pyramids," "Bad Religion," "Thinkin' Bout You") without straining to fit it all in. It's a headphone masterpiece that bangs on shelf speakers. It's everything. (Tonight's Frank Ocean show at La Zona Rosa, Thursday, July 19, is sold out.)

****

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
SXSW Wednesday Record Reviews
Gabriel Garzón-Montano
Jardín (Record Review)

Thomas Fawcett, March 17, 2017

SXSW Saturday Record Reviews
Karriem Riggins
Headnod Suite (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, March 17, 2017

More by Chase Hoffberger
The Texas Hammer
The Texas Hammer
Life under attack by our state government

March 17, 2017

South Austin Vigilante Killer Sentenced
South Austin Vigilante Killer Sentenced
Joseph Mobley gets five years for manslaughter

March 10, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Frank Ocean

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)