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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Channel Orange is the debut album from OFWGKTA member Frank Ocean (who garnered lots of press for his revelation that he's bisexual), and has lots of intense, adult themes about drugs, money, addiction, and prostitution, but in an artful and poetic way that's honest, critical, and hopeful. There are some violent themes, sexual images, and profanity, including "f--k" and "n---a." Not for kids, but not your typical R&B or rap album, either.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After writing for artists like Justin Bieber, Brandy, and John Legend, Frank Ocean releases his first solo album, CHANNEL ORANGE, a lengthy 17 tracks (a few are sound clips) that show Ocean's gift for storytelling and beautiful tenor vocals and falsetto woven around intense themes of love, addiction, and hope. John Mayer, Andre 3000, and Ocean's fellow member from OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All), Earl Sweatshirt, collaborate on this album.
Is it any good?
Channel Orange is exhausting, but in a good way. The young Ocean reveals a soulful R&B sound that often recalls the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Jill Scott, or Corinne Bailey Rae. His vocals are velvety and vulnerable, singing stories that are honest and at times heart-wrenching. He has a critical eye -- like in "Super Rich Kids," about the excess and emptiness of wealth, but he also has a way of putting himself in and out of the songs to make them both sad and hopeful. "Crack Rock" and "Pyramids" have adult themes of drugs and prostitution, but the music and lyrics are spectacular. Most of the album is mellow in true R&B form, but with unexpected turns and sensuously rich music that make this debut album revelatory.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the hype in the media surrounding Frank Ocean and his revelation that he is a bisexual (after rumors began). Do you think it matters what someone does in their private life? Does that determine whether or not you buy their music?
Ocean doesn't write typical R&B music. He's a storyteller and observer. Do you think his music is positive or negative? Give specific examples or songs.
Why do you think this album has been so critically acclaimed?
For kids who love hip-hop and pop
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.