We Need To Talk About Frank

Come on. There’s an elephant in on the room blog. A certain album. You know, the ones that every publication, from The Daily Telegraph to Pitchfork, is wetting themselves about. You know, the one that gets mentioned in the same breath as mid 70 Stevie Wonder, early 70s Marvin Gaye and early 80s Prince.

Come on, guys. Let’s talk about Frank.

I saw Nolan recently and he said he and Joey had been chatting about it. That they liked it but it just felt a bit standard R’n’B noodley for them. I did my best not to splutter indignantly. After all, I’m one of those for whom I’ve listened to very little else since I bought it. It has blown my mind, nothing less. Hell, I think it’s probably even living up to the hype.

So why’s it so good? Well, he’s got a voice like honey. It’s not autotuned to fuck. It’s classy and it draws from the past while sounding incredibly contemporary. I love how it has the veil of hiphop hanging over it, but really it’s an out and out soul record. I’m not even sure I’d call it RnB.

Nolan, I know that maybe you feel it sounds a bit samey to start with, but stick with because my god the songs come to life. Oh my, the songs. Those SONGS. And those lyrics. He’s a fucking smart songwriter. He captures the loneliness and narrow lives of the rich, of crack addicts, he questions himself, his sexuality, his life, his relationships, and then he goes and sings a 9 minute epic starting in ancient Egypt and ending with a pimp now being forced to pay the woman he pimps to have sex with him. This is ambition turned up to 11, if you’ll excuse the Spinal Tap-ism.

But in the end, it comes down to that thing we’ve been talking about since we started this fine endeavour: authenticity, attitude, songs – and MEANING IT. The guy has got it all. He really has. Give him your time. There’s a reason this is getting praise: because it’s, hands down, the album of the year. I haven’t even heard the next 5 months releases and I’m telling you, the game’s over.

5 comments

  1. misterstory

    Ok. So. I have been checking out some of these tracks on my headphones. I do like them. I am pretty impressed. However, I have a bit of a challenge for Brother David. I think you should re-visit House of Balloons by Weeknd. This is very similar. FRank Ocean is better produced of course, I think Frank is the better song writer but i think you’ve overlooked House of Balloons. And of course Weeknd get the Kudos for (i) doing it first (ii) not having a record company (iii) being a massive geek (iv) doing it in their bedroom (v) giving away 3 albums for free online.I am not saying House of Balloons is as good as this whole album cause Ive not heard it all. But … I don;t know how you can deny House of Balloons if you like what I’ve heard of Mr. Ocean.

  2. misterstory

    ok … this is good. Very good. I still hold by Weeknd statement but now i’ve heard the whole of Channel Orange I see less links. The Weeknd is gritty. Channel Ocean is really slick but not in the way I dislike. Its just good. It’s not too ‘R&B’ as in ‘late night shagging music’. I am really really enjoying it.

  3. Nolan Kane

    I gave this a fair few listens on Spotify and gave in last week and bought the album. To be honest it was largely due to the fact that I thought that I must be missing something by listening to it on my laptop.. especially with all the hype its been getting. there is no doubt that Frank Ocean has massive amount of talent, and this album is different in the right ways. I’m standing 50/50 with the tracks at the moment as there are some complete monsters on here…. and there are some that I’m still trying to get into. Is it worth buying… yes for sure. With that I think there is shed loads of hype about this album and there have been similar albums in the last year that have been just as good that haven’t received the hype sadly. 2012 was supposed to be all about Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lemar in urban music as they are the big major label pushes. Truthfully I’m looking forward more to Kendrick Lemar’s album.It’s a great album, and yes everyone should buy it… but as I stand at the moment it’s not the album of the year that everyone is going on about.

  4. misterstory

    So. Hype is hype is hype. Hypers will hype. And … er … ok I am stuck now. What I am trying to say is I did a reverse psychology on the hype and didn’t buy it. Sometimes things are hyped for a reason. But always you’ve got to try to listen to something without any external influence. This album for me is complete. I am not saying its perfect but I do think it;s complete. I have not listened to a ‘modern’ R&B album like I have this one for ages. The only ‘modern R&B’ (you know what I mean there right?) albums that I listen to regularly is D’Angelo’s ‘Voodoo’ and Weeknd ‘House of Balloons’. These have now been joined by this.For me. I would not have put Bad Religion as the track on this post (just like I would not change the Passion Pit track I put up but there you go). If you need a way in to loving this album I think Pyramids, all 9 mins of it is the THE track. Its probably my track of the year. Turn on it on. Turn it up. Dance like only middle aged white men can.

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