2013 Grammy Nominations:
- Record Of The Year for "Thinkin Bout You"
- Album of the Year
- Best New Artist
- Best Urban Contemporary Album
This has been hailed as one of the best albums of the year (yes, duh, I realize it's got the nominations to back up that statement). This statement does come from some folks I know as well, and I've been itching to get around to a good listen sessions on it.
What surprised me the most, for the dumbest reason, is that this is an R&B album - I think I had Ocean mixed up with Turner. Folks, check the picture on the homepage: I sometimes live up to my hair color.
Okay, anywhos, we're in for something really interesting from the sounds of it. There's lots of cool mixes of styles that Frank brings in to create this neo-soul inspired mix. He's described as having a subtle baritone voice, so excuse me if I fall in love.
Originally, Def Jam and Frank weren't getting along so well, and he released his own music online, going around them to get his own career of the ground. He developed his own following, and mended things with the label, sort of, and eventually got to release this. And yes, that's the incredibly short version.
Interesting method here: (1) wrote all of the songs, (2) put them in album order, (3) recorded in that particular order. That's rare, folks. Yah know what, screw it - you want to read the story? Check the Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_Orange). I want to listen to music.
Appropriately, we begin with "Start." It's just a quick sound from the street, a text beep, and then a glistening game sound as we get into it.
"Thinkin Bout You" is the big hit and the Grammy nod that included a particular song. It's sort of a slow jam, with ominous drones in the backing. I guess it's a cool sound, most definitely created in a studio. I honestly can't say I'm loving the song itself. Also, I'm hoping the rest of the album takes on a better sound for my ears. Sorry friends. Here it is on SNL from this year - at least the performance is pretty decent:
"Sierra Leone" sort of passed me by without warning. It made for good background music while I played a game for a minute. I think it might be about his daughter, or someone's daughter. I'm failing y'all, sorry.
All right, focusing now. "Sweet Life" starts off singing of Beverly Hills and the good life from what I can hear. Kind of an interesting twist when you figure out he's talking about the chick and noting what he doesn't have. It border-lines the kind of rap song I can't stand where they constantly complain about how they've come from nothing, but I will not let my impatience get the best of me.
"Not Just Money" is another in-between track, this time including a female talking about what real happiness is, and it's well, not just money. She's got nothing, but it's more than that.
That one leads right in to "Super Rich Kids." Yeah, I have to give the descriptions a hand, this is totally unlike anything I've ever heard before so far. This is kind of a funny song though - basically about how the rich kids live and do what they want with all their nothingness time. It's not real by any means, and I guess that's what he's actually looking for outside of that lifestyle.
"Pilot Jones" is… a deadbeat? Smokes in the house. Can't get a job. I'm missing something I'm sure, but regardless, more stories of someone wanting themselves or someone else to get a better life. I'm going to try really hard to shift focus to the sound instead which, in this case, is still slow and R&B, with ominous computerized beats backing it.
By title alone, you have to admit, reading "Crack Rock" is just a little funny. Come on, please tell me someone out there is laughing with me. Sigh. Regardless, the beat's pretty great in this - like an old, smokey funk/blues bar. No but, seriously, he's talking about smoking crack.
"Pyramids" came out of nowhere on me. I didn't even realize the song had changed honestly, and sort of only clicked over to find out the details when an electronic sound started becoming prevalent. I usually am all for this sort of sound, but there are moments when it just grates on my nerves. The slower times are what gets me - it feels like my senses are just swimming through molasses and it hurts to think it through. The quicker moments are just fine and great. And I think the whole thing's about a stripper.
JOHN MAYER. Sorry, always had a sweet spot for that man. "White" is up next, and I'm sure he's just the dude playing that sweet guitar in the background. Loving it though!
"Monks" is another one with a really awesome musical base to it. I needed to pay a little more attention to the lyrics to see if I hated anything being said, but so far as good when I do perk my ears up. Yay - maybe this is a full length I can stay in to without feeling uncomfortable in fear my mother will hear this.
I think I'd sort of be into "Bad Religion" if I listened a little closer. It seems to have something really interesting going on in the realization he's portraying. The music itself is this cool blend of jazz and soul with some marching drums added in here and there during the more intense moments. Hm.. okay, I see something good finally happening here.
I zoned out a bit out of a little bored and only came back in to "Pink Matter" when Andre 3000 reminded me just enough of OutKast to laugh a little. The song itself is super slow and drags on just enough to doze off to. No, that's not always a bad thing. But man, when you're dead tired writing a review, it's not at all a good thing either. And now I'm left rambling with some silly explanation about being sleepy while trying to fill up a little space. Woo.
I'm going to go ahead and bunch these last two together in one paragraph because I'm that okay with coming to the end of this album. "Forest Gump" sounds like something completely written based on the concept of the movie - the part where he runs at least. There's deepness to it, I'm sure, but nothing to grasp on to really. "End" is a muffled sound a music sort of trailing off, with these breezes of what I can only assume are memories of someone or some moment of meaning. The car door slams, someone's walking through the rain and puddles, unlocks their door, closes it, locks it, and the album ends.
Added To My Playlist:
- "Bad Religion"
Oh dear goodness, it's over. I'll hand it to him - musically, very interesting and even border-line innovative. But lyrically, not for me. I don't get the big deal everyone's been making for the past few months on this one, and don't think I'll be throwing my support behind him for this year's Grammy hopes.