The Frank, the G.O.O.D. and the Ugly

By Darian Maduruh


Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange”: The man formerly known as Christopher Breux has had a long journey towards making this album, which happens to be his first studio-based one. First, he moved to Los Angeles from New Orleans, working as a songwriter with artists such as Justin Bieber. Eventually joining the Hip Hop Group known as Odd Future, which features members like Tyler the Creator, Hodgy Beats, and Earl Sweatshirt. Chances are you’ve heard of the group and their somewhat controversial style of hardcore hip hop. After releasing his first mixtape and the single “Novacaine”, he found himself working with Jay Z and Kanye West on their “Watch the Throne” album. Of course, let’s not forget Ocean’s announcement that he had once fallen in love with a man, a revelation that opened up discussion about homosexuality in the Hip Hop field. Don’t let that particular controversy distract you, Ocean’s debut studio album doesn’t need the attention grabbing headlines because it is an excellent R & B album. The album features seventeen tracks of Ocean’s soulful voice, and will leave you impressed with its strong production and varied themes. One of the standout tracks on the album is “Super Rich Kids”, where Ocean sings from the perspective of….a super rich kid, engaging in a hedonistic lifestyle of drugs, sex, and expensive cars. “Bad Religion”, a song about unrequited love, features an especially powerful vocal performance from Frank. This album is definitely worth checking out. 9/10

The Ugly Club’s “You Belong to the Minutes”: For the past two years, this local Union County band has been working to make a name for themselves, and have recently released their first studio album. This album is filled with musical concepts, which the band has successfully managed to merge together. One of their tracks, “Let’s Sleep Around”, starts as a smoldering Prince inspired track, which eventually shifts into a number which reminded one of doo wop. Upbeat tracks like “Loosen Up” will have you humming along to the song and tapping your feet. The band is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Egan, guitarist/vocalist Joe Stasio, Keyboards/Vocals/Trumpet player Taylor Mandel, Drummer Ryan McNulty, and Bassist Rick Sue-Poi, all of whom make for a great combination, each leaving their own impressive mark on the album. If you’re a fan of local indie music, chances are that you’ve heard of this band already. Those that haven’t should look for this album wherever they can find it. 9/10

GOOD music’s “Cruel Summer”: Now, technically…I’m not supposed to be reviewing this album, because as of this writing, it hasn’t come out in release. However, this album has leaked all over the internet, and even has websites streaming it, so I took a listen to Kanye West’s first foray into the “group label album”. Featuring rappers such as West, Pusha T, Big Sean, Cyhi Da Prince, 2 Chainz and other guests, “Cruel Summer” is an average album. The problem is that if you’ve been keeping up with this album, you’ve already heard nearly half of it. Even worse is that the already released songs (Including hit songs such as “Mercy”, “New God Flow”, “Cold”, “Clique” and the remix to the Chief Keef song “I Don’t Like”) are the best songs on the album. The album isn’t unsuccessful otherwise, however, as it has tracks like “To the World”, which features R Kelly, A Kid Cudi solo performance called “Creepers”, and a song called “The One”, featuring singer Marsha Ambrosious. Being one of the few event albums of this year, it deserves at least one listen through. But considering that this project involves Kanye West, I expected to call this album “awesome” instead of just “decent”. 7/10

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