Channel Orange: A Love Story Between Tumblr Aesthetic and Sad Boy Culture

It has been six years since Frank Ocean released his debut album, “Channel Orange“. It also marks six years since he wrote a letter for his fans and the world on his tumblr page. Revealing that part of the album was about an affair that he had four years prior, Frank came out to the world in the most poetic way.

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Channel Orange channels so many different emotions that are hard to pin down to just one. While the album is heavily influenced by the experiences of unrequited love, sex, sadness, C.O. oozes the hallucinatory setting you would get from scrolling through hundreds of Vaporwave theme Tumblr pages. Describing his mystery relationship as “malignant” and “hopeless“, Ocean sets the bar for this album and albums to later come with stories of a melancholy tone. “A tornado flew around my room before you came / Excuse the mess it made, it usually doesn’t rain / In Southern California much, like Arizona / My eyes don’t shed tears, but boy, they pour when / I’m thinking ’bout you“.

“Whoever you are, where ever you are… I’m starting to think we’re a lot alike. Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, heard, paid attention to. My loved ones are everything to me here. In the last year or 3 I’ve screamed at my creator, screamed at clouds in the sky, for some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like Manna somehow.”

It comes as no surprise that Frank holds an immense amount of influence on modern society and its music. Possessing the ability to speak on almost every social, mental, political and spiritual experience and putting it into music is a gift a lot of musicians do not have. Being inspired by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Willie Nelson and more, Channel Orange shows that Frank is a perceptive storyteller, with a social consciousness. Frank speaks for all of the African American homosexuals who don’t feel loved or appreciated, through spoken word that holds the balance of masculinity and feminity.

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