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Frank Ocean: Channel Orange
Buy! - (Def Jam)
While this LA-via-New Orleans artist (and member of the infamous hip hop collective Odd Future) recently made waves by coming out as bisexual, his official debut album (following up last year’s stunning mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra) is a much bigger deal. Channel Orange is adventurous modern soul with a haunting, often-somber sound containing echoes of the expansive, jazz-tinged R&B of ‘70s-era Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye along with the woozy, hip hop-influenced soul of D’Angelo and Erykah Badu, combining warm keyboards, dusty ‘70s guitars, occasional brass and strings and mostly downtempo hip hop and jazz-funk rhythms with Ocean’s warm, intimate crooning (often breaking into a gorgeous falsetto) and masterfully detailed lyrics of unrequited love and broken-down lives. 7/13/2012 - Don Yates