• Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Jul 17, 2012

Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 46
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 46
  3. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. Aug 2, 2012
    In throwing his emotional locker wide open, Frank Ocean has made a tender, engrossing classic.
  2. Jul 24, 2012
    Ocean brings substance with style, rather than style demanding to be considered substance.
  3. Jul 24, 2012
    Channel Orange is so arrestingly smooth that all of its unusually shaped pieces fit together as a seamless whole.
  4. Jul 18, 2012
    It's simultaneously of the moment and an undeniable classic.
  5. Jul 18, 2012
    Even though other recent interviews and richly realized tracks like those imply that Ocean's songwriting is just a vessel, his own devil is still in the details, and that's what makes his music compelling.
  6. Jul 18, 2012
    For now, the best tribute you can pay Channel Orange is that, while it plays, you forget about the chatter and just luxuriate in a wildly original talent.
  7. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel Orange is as dazzling as it is baffling, rarely staying still long enough to get a grip on.
  8. Jul 27, 2012
    Ignore whatever purist backlash you may encounter. In Channel Orange, we have been granted a truly classic document, perhaps the very first that feels synchronized with the present decade.
  9. Jul 18, 2012
    While Channel Orange is stuffed with one-of-a-kind details and characters, its overall scope is grand, as is Ocean's.
  10. Jul 18, 2012
    No matter what Ocean's mood is on the album, the songs sound fantastic.... it's one of the best albums of the year.
  11. The musical craft on this almost sampleless album is so even-keeled that there's no song here as forgettable as "There Will Be Tears" or "Dust" either.
  12. Jul 18, 2012
    In addition to being one of the year's most soberingly bleak R&B releases, Channel Orange is also one of the prettiest.
  13. 90
    Vastly rich... Ocean's voice is a thing of beauty – clear, crisp and almost, divine – he speaks of truth in an unabashed manner.
  14. The combination of his idiosyncratic creative mind with his highly personal and conflicted lyrics has resulted in something spectacular.
  15. Jul 23, 2012
    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.
  16. Jul 20, 2012
    It stands tall as the best R&B album in a long while, if not the best album in a long while.
  17. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel Orange is a staggering step upwards from Nostalgia.
  18. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel Orange demands to be listened to in a single sitting.
  19. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel Orange hasn't so much been crafted into being as grown from the passion of one man, an extension of the Frank Ocean psyche into audible form.
  20. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel ORANGE feels like one long, moonlit, air-conditioned ride.
  21. Jul 18, 2012
    This is more than an album, this is a moment in music history. Enjoy it.
  22. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel Orange is so textured, complex, and mature that Ocean's recent coming out feels like a footnote, rather than the entire story. It's a revelation that only further colors the tales of longing and disappointment found on this impressive album.
  23. Jul 18, 2012
    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.
  24. Jul 19, 2012
    It's a headphone masterpiece that bangs on shelf speakers.
  25. Jul 19, 2012
    The music is powerful, but the moods and mental space Channel Orange occupies are often macabre.
  26. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel Orange creates a state of mind with words and sound.
  27. Jul 18, 2012
    The compassionate understanding of human nature, is the guiding ethos behind Channel Orange, a very beautiful album about not-so-beautiful people.
  28. Jul 27, 2012
    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.
  29. 83
    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.
  30. Uncut
    Sep 14, 2012
    Sumptuous and sprawling, his major label debut comfortably backs up the hype. [Oct 2012, p.86]
  31. Q Magazine
    Aug 20, 2012
    While Ocean's artistic ambition is impressive, it's his haunting candour that really casts a spell. [Sep 2012, p.106]
  32. Mojo
    Aug 8, 2012
    [A] rich and complex album. [Sep 2012, p.95]
  33. Jul 24, 2012
    What it is, frankly speaking, is one of the brightest R&B-flavoured projects to touch the mainstream in a long time.
  34. Jul 24, 2012
    channel ORANGE is filled with brave music.
  35. Jul 19, 2012
    The roominess and the variety are what make this album so interesting.
  36. Jul 18, 2012
    A largely beatific album, it propagates love over high living, but also shipped is the urban locale, the one-dimensional serenading and the cartoonish sexuality that informs a significant percentage of mainstream r'n'b, substituted for the same precocious wisdom, emotional intelligence, writerly nuance and reasoned portrayal of lust displayed on the Tumblr post.
  37. Jul 18, 2012
    The album is a storyteller's album. In fact, it's an immensely inclusive R&B album.
  38. Jul 18, 2012
    While it may hard to both live up to hype and craft something distinct in a young career already brimming with excellent releases, channel ORANGE finds Frank Ocean rising to the challenge with a class unlike anyone in music these days.
  39. Jul 18, 2012
    With Channel Orange Frank Ocean has proven himself as one of the most significant artists in popular music today; his next effort will definitely have the potential to be a genre classic.
  40. "I wanted", Ocean wrote, "to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions." Mission accomplished, and then some.
  41. Jul 18, 2012
    When Ocean reins himself in, tucking his words and melodies into tighter verse-chorus structures, the songs have startling force.
  42. Jul 18, 2012
    What remains is a solid collection of pop-soul renderings through which Ocean tries to find himself.
  43. Jul 18, 2012
    Only at two or three points in the album does it feel like Ocean is actively courting heavy radio play.... The rest of the album, however, feels too offbeat and diffuse to trouble the top end of the charts. Is this a bad thing? Not at all.
  44. Jul 18, 2012
    Ocean's work is almost as good as those he references; his lyrics are almost uniformly terrific, sensual, specific, and unpredictable.
  45. Jul 18, 2012
    Channel Orange stands strong on its own merits.
  46. Aug 6, 2012
    Despite its faults, Channel ORANGE still marks Frank Ocean out as an intriguing and exciting artist. It's a contradiction in many ways: a far-from-perfect album that suggests a long and prosperous career; an artist without an exceptional voice who looks like he will instead become an exceptional voice.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 1141 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jul 18, 2012
    one word...beautiful.
  2. N10
    Jul 18, 2012
    The R&B that I loved, I thought was gone, but damn I was wrong. This is an instant classic. The themes and some of it's concept kinda remindsThe R&B that I loved, I thought was gone, but damn I was wrong. This is an instant classic. The themes and some of it's concept kinda reminds me of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. And just too compare Ocean with those great artists is something really big. For an debut album it´s great, it's fantastic. It's been years since I heard an R&B debut strong as this one. I've been a big fan of Ocean for quite a while now, and I was sick worried of how the album would be, If it's going to be a disappointment or not. And no. This is absolutley amazing. And now I'm honest, just because I'm a fan it doesn't mean that I'm lying, wouldn't lie to myself, that's pretty stupid. The lyrics are really good, better than I expected. I mean, I've always known that he was a good lyricist, but this was fenomenal. The story of each song is moslty fun, romantic, and sad. It simply is fantastic. He has improved as an artist, just listen to the song "Bad Religion"... Wow, an instant classic and one of the best songs of the year. That's cool, but then their are songs like "Sweet Life", "Super Rich Kids", "Pink Matter", and "Pyramids". And what about them? They all earn a grammy. Yeah, they all do. No other R&B artist has a song at the same level and quality as Ocean does this year. Just one, who? Ushers "Climax". And that's a great song. But yet, theirs no other one. How about Chris Brown? What about it. I pretty much like his music for the fun, and there was no other R&B artist to listen to at that time, just him and Usher just to mention somebody. But then it came two great and MATURED R&B artists. Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. If you haven't heard of him, check him out. Browns latest "Fortune" was mediocre, I'll give it a try agian later. A grammy nomination would be a disgrace to music. But I wouldn't be surprised if it would, there's no other in that category and genre now these days. And don't misunderstand me, I love Ushers music, but I like his older more. That's it.
    Kinda off-topic now, but please buy the album, buy the album if you support great music. It's a masterpiece of 2012. If this doesen't win a grammy for best album, then yeah. Their taste of music is bad. I mean wack.
    It's an beautiful album. The production doesn't feel cheap at all, either way around and also the lyrics. It's detailed, and the stories are for the most part absolutely brilliant! Buy it! It's worth it. ;)
    This ain't average, this is fantastic!
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 18, 2012
    The best album I have heard since Kanye's Beautiful Dark Twisted Mind, Channel Orange works not as a bunch of radio-friendly songs thrownThe best album I have heard since Kanye's Beautiful Dark Twisted Mind, Channel Orange works not as a bunch of radio-friendly songs thrown together on a CD as we so often here today but rather as 55 minutes of music that all blends together, creating, as Ocean said in his letter, "a world rosier than mine." The only disappointment for me that comes along with this classic is that some people have said this is a mediocre album that only gets attention because of his recent coming out letter. I will admit that this is complex music and some people might not be able to handle it right now (I mean if you go from listening to only the dance music on the radio to this, you're either going to feel enlightened or just not feel it...I probably wouldn't have been able to listen to this album a few years ago) but his recent coming out has *nothing* to do with the reception of this album- it is a classic that is finally giving people something fresh...and hearing people say its because of his sexuality really gets me frustrated...Anyways...lets hope we have stuff like this from Frank Ocean (and the Weeknd) to listen to for years to come! Full Review »