Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
Critic Score
Based on 38 reviews
2012 Ratings: #1 / 1047
Year End Rank: #1
User Score
2012 Ratings: #5
Liked by 150 people
Sign In to rate and review


Consequence of Sound
Whether he’s being sarcastic or vulnerable, publicly hedging or lyrically baring it all, his songwriting speaks to the humanity in us all.

One listen to Channel Orange makes it obvious that he is as free as an artist as he is as a man. The album doesn't have as many slyly powerful hooks as Nostalgia, Ultra, but Ocean's descriptive and subtle storytelling is taken to a higher level. 

A.V. Club

Snubbing nearly every contemporary radio trend, it positions itself instead as the latest in a line of revelatory, late-period neo-soul albums

Pretty Much Amazing

Channel Orange’s scale and scope are impressive to behold.

The Fly

The album climaxes in romantic deluge; Ocean’s magnificent delivery ensures every tearful story feels true, tangible, relatable. In throwing his emotional locker wide open, Frank Ocean has made a tender, engrossing classic.

Time Out London

This album is every bit as boldly conceived, brilliantly executed and irrefutably fresh as the hype has it.

The Guardian

In a formulaic era, his production is impressively idiosyncratic, heavy on hazy electronics and cavernous, dubby reverb, and packed with weird touches: the melodies never quite pan out as you expect them to, while the backing shifts and changes unpredicatably.

NOW Magazine

Channel Orange is a stunningly ambitious soul album that establishes Ocean as one of the most creative artists in modern popular music. It's simultaneously of the moment and an undeniable classic.

The Telegraph

There are enough ideas here for a dozen CDs, sure to inspire plenty of copycat versions of these inventive grooves from other artists trying to follow Ocean’s magical lead.

The Arts Desk

He's clearly a natural storyteller and a keen observer anyway ... What makes Channel Orange a great debut is Ocean's ability to match narrative with soundtrack.


The 24-year-old has quickly proven himself to be among the most gifted singer-songwriters of his generation; he's got the type of voice, wit, charm, smarts, and ineffable humanity that's always hoped for, but never promised.

The Young Folks
While this might be Frank’s debut, it feels as if a mature R&B artist put out his fifth album or so, bringing unconventional sounds into the mix, elements of gospel, pop and neo-soul.

No matter what Ocean's mood is on the album, the songs sound fantastic.

Beats Per Minute

Frank’s strengths are his versatile voice, the breadth of his songwriting capabilities, the way he mixes and matches old aesthetics and ends up with strange new combinations

The 405

Channel Orange is a superbly forward-thinking piece of work that places Ocean lightyears ahead of his peers.


As Channel Ocean reaches its end, every emotion associated with it can be traced back to one: fulfilment. 

Under The Radar

No expectation could have prepared listeners for how good this album is.

Drowned in Sound

Beyond genre lines, racial lines, sexuality lines, any lines you can think of, it's that all-too-rare gem: a universal story you'll come back to long after the hype's been and gone.


channel ORANGE feels like one long, moonlit, air-conditioned ride. Songs ease from one to the next, flowing together with ambient pieces of distant movie dialogue and the sound of electronics turning on and off.

The Line of Best Fit

Every song breathes like an individual fragment of Ocean’s personality and past, coaxed and caressed into life by his stunning voice and considered songwriting.

Slant Magazine

Channel Orange is so textured, complex, and mature


Frank Ocean has placed himself above genre borders and identity labels with Channel Orange.


Frank Ocean belongs to a tiny sub-genre of artists who possess the ability to sing in falsetto about a girl smoking crack and still sound like a fucking angel. 


Restraint is key to the execution of Channel Orange, a neo-R&B album that, for all its layered beauty, never overwhelms.

Coke Machine Glow

Channel Orange is going to be the standard to beat for some time. And it might very well be the best R&B album of our young decade.

Entertainment Weekly

Ocean is less concerned with urban realism than with his own ‘80s-noir fantasy of what the city’s like, and his music captures that vibe perfectly, pulsing with electro-soul grooves, vintage jazz-funk, and Angelino-friendly cameos by John Mayer and Andre 3000.


channel ORANGE finds Frank Ocean rising to the challenge with a class unlike anyone in music these days.

FACT Magazine

A largely beatific album, it propagates love over high living, but also shipped is the urban locale ... substituted for the same precocious wisdom, emotional intelligence, writerly nuance and reasoned portrayal of lust displayed on the Tumblr post.

Tiny Mix Tapes
Ocean's work is almost as good as those he references; his lyrics are almost uniformly terrific, sensual, specific, and unpredictable
The album is a storyteller's album. In fact, it's an immensely inclusive R&B album.

With Channel Orange Frank Ocean has proven himself as one of the most significant artists in popular music today.

Rolling Stone

When Ocean reins himself in, tucking his words and melodies into tighter verse-chorus structures, the songs have startling force.

The Observer

The spaces between the hooks are of no less importance to Ocean, and on Channel Orange he opens them out and lets them breathe. Beats run on after melodies recede, lonely guitars twang away in the margins, soundscapes overlap.

The Independent

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.

No Ripcord

With a few notable exceptions, Channel ORANGE is solid rather than spellbinding

The Needle Drop

After making a splash with his first mixtape, Frank Ocean is killing it in the world of contemporary R&B with this new album.

Spectrum Culture

channel ORANGE is a solid but uneven first official release by a gifted singer-songwriter, but it’s not a game-changing album.

My God, 600 followers! I am so grateful to each of them... it's been a long way to arrive here, but I hope that users of AOTY appreciate my honesty and fairness in giving ratings (and possibly my kindness towards everybody :) ).

In order to thank you, I would like to share the review of one very special album, "Channel Orange" by Frank Ocean, THE BEST ALBUM OF 2010s in my humble opinion.

The question may arise spontaneously: why Frank Ocean? After all, R&B has experienced other ... read more
Im my opinion Channel Orange > Blond. Don't get be wrong, Blond is great. But there's something about Channel Orange. Maybe it's the way it handles so many emotions gracefully. Or how different all the songs sound. But Channel Orange always feels like an emotional journey.

Great for late night cry sessions 100/100!

So we did it boys. Thank you so much for 250, I’m still in shock that this is even where I am at on the site, and I cannot thank you all enough.

Because of this taking place, today, I am going to do a track by track review of one of my favorite R&B albums of all time, Frank Ocean’s Channel ORANGE. It’s no secret that I am a huge Frank Ocean fan, I mean I gave this, Endless, and Blonde tens, so I thought it would ... read more
This is such a gorgeous album. Channel Orange is so thoughtful, well-arranged and well-conceived that it's very difficult to replicate an rnb album like it this decade.
EDIT: Still think this is an amazing album. Honestly, I can't see anything topping this in pop or r&b within this decade. There's pretty close to nothing wrong with Channel Orange, but god I really wish Fertilizer was a full track. It has such an infectious and upbeat melody and terrific production. Frank had the potential to be this generation's Michael Jackson, but unfortunately that never came to fruition. He's still one of the most talented pop artists of the 2010's though, and ... read more
Purchasing Channel Orange from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.

Track List

  1. Start 
  2. Thinkin Bout You 
  3. Fertilizer 
  4. Sierra Leone 
  5. Sweet Life 
  6. Not Just Money 
  7. Super Rich Kids (feat. Earl Sweatshirt) 
  8. Pilot Jones 
  9. Crack Rock 
  10. Pyramids 
  11. Lost 
  12. White (feat. John Mayer) 
  13. Monks 
  14. Bad Religion 
  15. Pink Matter (feat. André 3000) 
  16. Forrest Gump 
  17. End
Sign in to comment

Added on: June 8, 2012