Results for Frank Ocean

reviews
Channel ORANGEchannel ORANGE available on iTunes

Frank Ocean channel ORANGE

Speaking of musicians who put their sexuality out there, rising R&B star Frank Ocean recently made the news when he wrote on his tumblr that he‘d fallen in love with a man when he was 19. That’s a bold statement coming from an artist linked to the outwardly homophobic hip-hop collective Odd Future. The buzz surrounding Ocean's major label debut channel ORANGEwas already intense given the success of his mixtape, last year's nostalgia, ULTRA. Does it live up to the hype? In short, yes. Jim thinks Ocean's a contender to be the next Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye. Not only is he bringing new sounds into R&B, but he's writing about money, sex, and class in a way that's honest and gimmick-free. What's getting him riled are those interstitial skits and snippets of conversation. They break the flow of the record and make channel ORANGE a Burn It for him. Greg echoes Jim's praise but isn't as bothered by the skits. For him this record is all about a singer telling emotion-packed stories. He gives channel ORANGE a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 347
BlondeBlonde available on iTunes

Frank Ocean Blonde

Who doesn't love a surprise? Frank Ocean surprised fans when he dropped not one but two albums without notice this past week. The R&B singer broke out in 2012 with his album Channel Orange before essentially disappearing. Over the past few months he has hinted about new music and now he has finally delivered: a visual album called Endless and a more traditional album (as traditional as it can get) called Blonde. Was it worth the wait? Jim and Greg both say“yes.”Jim finds that the low-key and moody Blonde takes on some weighty issues, addressing gender-fluidity and a feeling of disconnection from other humans at a time when technology has made communication“easier than ever.”Greg says the album's production sounds like nothing else and“occupies its own universe.”He says that love is the theme to the record – and while that might seem simple, Ocean takes the concept in complex and moving directions. It's an enthusiastic double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 561
Beauty Behind the MadnessBeauty Behind the Madness available on iTunes

The Weeknd Beauty Behind the Madness

Canadian R&B artist Abel Tesfaye spent several years as a mysterious underground phenomenon, releasing acclaimed EPs for free under the name of The Weeknd. After guesting on songs by his friend Drake, he's now become a star, selling out arenas behind his new album Beauty Behind the Madness. The Weeknd is a major voice in the new wave of neo-soul along with Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs, and Solange. Jim thinks his musical ability is undeniable, particularly in the moments when he is reinterpreting the sound and vulnerability of Michael Jackson. Yet on the more R. Kelly-inspired half of the album, Jim feels The Weeknd crosses the line from sexiness into lewdness, so he can't give the album more than a Try It. Greg agrees the sexual content of the lyrics is troubling, but believes Tesfaye is self-aware and ultimately critical of the attitudes his character expresses. The album represents a huge step forward musically, thanks in part to master pop producer Max Martin who managed to add hooks without watering down the darkness. Greg says Beauty Behind the Madness is a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 510
PopularPopular available on iTunes

Van Hunt Popular

Soul-rocker Van Hunt's album Popular, originally slated for release back in 2008, is finally seeing the light of day. According to Greg, the record is“totally contemporary, and totally of the moment… still.” The album, a stylistic diversion from Van Hunt's previous efforts (Van Hunt [2006] and On the Jungle Floor [2007]), was shelved by Blue Note Records after promotional copies had been distributed to critics. Jim and Greg received copies of the album back then and gave the album an "enthusiastic double Buy It" – despite listeners not being able to purchase the music at the time. Now that Blue Note has given the record a proper release, Jim and Greg revisited the record. Greg calls it a Freudian, avant-garde take on Prince's Dirty Mind. He adds that the record has an“adventurous”blend of sonic elements like the mix of punk with falsetto soul vocals in "Turn My TV On." Jim says the record was ahead of its time in 2008 and still sounds absolutely fresh and current beside "other genre-bending maestros of R&B like Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar." Both Greg and Jim give Popular another double Buy It (and this time you can actually buy it).

JimGreg
Go to episode 614
GossamerManners available on iTunes

Passion Pit Manners

Michael Angelakos, the laptop wizard behind electropop band Passion Pit, first made a splash on MySpace in 2008 with the hit "Sleepyhead." He released his debut album, Manners, the next year. Since then we haven‘t heard much from him. Passion Pit’s new sophomore effort, Gossamer, was in the works for some time, and Angelakos recently posted on the band's website that he was calling off performances in July in order to deal with mental health problems. Mental health issues, the stresses of maintaining a marriage, and economic decline all make up the rather dark background of Gossamer, an album that masquerades as a lighthearted dance record. For Jim and Greg, that contrast of light and dark is all too good. Jim says Angelakos's lyrics wouldn't be out of place on a soul album. He includes Passion Pit as part of a movement of weird soul geniuses (Frank Ocean and The Weeknd are also among them) making heart-felt epics in their bedrooms. Both Jim and Greg agree this is a deep record worth spending some time with. Another double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 348
ART OFFICIAL AGEArt Official Age available on iTunes

Prince Art Official Age

More than fifteen years after a dramatic falling out with Warner Bros. Records, Prince and the WB are once again reunited. To celebrate the occasion, The Purple One has released not one, but two full-length studio albums. Jim thinks the first record, Art Official Age, is a bloated, science fiction-tinged concept album that borrows too liberally from artists like Led Zeppelin, Janelle Monae, and even Crosby, Stills and Nash. Fans of Prince will probably love it, but Jim's finds it to be mostly filler from a once brilliant artist: Trash It. Greg disagrees, as he thinks this is some of Prince's best material in 20 years. On Art Official Age, Prince creates a rich, layered world of sound where he's free to embody a variety of eccentric and electric musical personalities. And despite Prince being 56-years old, the album's energy stands up next to contemporary R&B auteurs like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. Greg says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 462
ViewsViews available on iTunes

Drake Views

After much anticipation, rapper Drake has finally released his fourth album, Views. Over the past six years, the Canadian artist has risen to the top of the commerical rap genre, releasing four albums and several mixtapes, all of which have gone platinum. Jim takes issue with the album's subject matter, with Drake frequently complaining about the perks of his superstardom. Aside from that, he thinks Drake has yet to take his 808s & Heartbreak-inspired music to another level, something contemporaries The Weeknd and Frank Ocean have managed successfully. Greg agrees, though he acknowledges that Drake's earlier material was pretty effective. Ultimately, Greg thinks we‘ve already heard this Drake album and he’s capable of more. That's a double Trash It for Views.

JimGreg
Go to episode 547
lists

The Best Albums of 2012.

Jim and Greg have made their lists and checked 'em twice. Now the big moment has arrived. Without further ado: The Best Albums of 2012.

Go to episode 367

Best Albums of 2016

Go to episode 576
news

Music News

Hard to believe, but The Beatles are so old that some of their music is now entering public domain in Europe. While a law is in place to extend copyrights in the E.U. from 50 to 70 years, that won't go into effect until 2014. That means that as of New Year's Eve 2012, early tracks like "Love Me Do" are up for grabs. Early tracks by Bob Dylan, however, have recently been protected. In order to avoid its catalog going into public domain, Sony Music has taken advantage of the law's“use it or lose it”clause. They released a compilation aptly titled, The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1. It's only available in certain European countries though, so American Dylan fans will have to be willing to pay big bucks on eBay.

This is typically the dry season for major album releases, but there have been a lot of buzzworthy singles. Jim and Greg run through some of the big ones. They never thought they'd utter the words "new David Bowie track," but we've got one called "Where Are We Now," with a Tony Visconti-produced album to follow. Then there's JT's new chart-topper "Suit and Tie." A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg made a plea for the gentleman of Outkast to come back together, and now we have both Big Boi and Andre 3000 appearing on a remix of Frank Ocean's "Pink Matter." But, Andre is quick to squash any reunion rumors. Last, but not least, are the ladies of Destiny's Child. There's a new song called "Nuclear" and plans for the three to appear together during the Superbowl Halftime Show. Guess motherhood has made Beyonce nostalgic.

Go to episode 373

Music News

Another Grammy night has come and gone, and again it was all about the performances. The award show had its second biggest ratings night since 1993, and one of the biggest newsmakers was someone who wasn't even eligible for an award: Justin Timberlake. Other big winners were Mumford & Sons and Frank Ocean. Jim and Greg talk about some of the Grammy's bizarre voting and eligibility rules and compare these winners to those who took home the prize for Village Voice Jazz & Pop Poll.

Go to episode 377