CD of the week
Album: Frank Ocean, Channel Orange (Def Jam)
What many people missed, during the torrent of praise for his bravery in coming out as bisexual to a notoriously homophobic hip-hop industry, was the sheer beauty with which Frank Ocean did so.
The letter posted by the Odd Future-affiliated singer-producer, in which he spoke of his first love being a man, was as poetic as his music often is.
There is, in fact, a continuity between the letter and Channel Orange, his debut album. Indeed, the 24-year-old originally intended to make his revelation in the booklet of the CD. Its first proper track, "Thinking About You", reminisces about his "first time", with an ex-lover who is addressed as "boy". The object of "Forrest Gump" is also a man, while "Bad Religion" deals with an unrequited crush on a devout, male, Muslim taxi driver.
The dominant sound of Channel Orange is one of "quiet storm" slow jams laid over lo-fi, broken-speaker beats. But it's far from samey: "Sierra Leone" has Paisley Park-style polyphony, while "Super Rich Kids" might have been something Carole King knocked out in the 1970s.
"I wanted", Ocean wrote, "to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions." Mission accomplished, and then some.
Arts & Ents blogs
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.