First let me say this is not an original story idea, I never want to take credit for another writers creativity. This is my own tribute to a fellow young black writer, and one of my favorite albums of all time Channel Orange. A few weeks ago I read an article on Pigeons & Planes, entitled “How Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange Changed My Life” by Darian O’Neal. I read the original article at least 5 times, finding something new to love each time. Afterwards I’d go to listen to the album finding something new and feeling something different with each listen.
I admired and related to the article so much that I found the writer on social media immediately and praised him for capturing the essence of the album so incredibly well. The author of the story mentioned his own personal connection with the album and how it might have affected many other as well, he was correct, well at least in my case.
Channel Orange came out the summer after I graduated high school, right before I started college. It was a time in my life when I was really unsure about a lot, and because of that, let’s just say I did things outside my character. All throughout high school I was a very straight edge kid who didn’t go out and wasn’t incredibly outgoing. So that summer was the time for me to mentally and physically prepare myself for college.
I went to parties with people older than me and did things I usually didn’t do, I felt so alive. There was a moment in all of that where I felt really sad, I knew I was changing and didn’t know how I felt about it. At the same time I was going through a really bad breakup as well and knew it was affecting my behavior. My life was slowly heading into a sad downward spiral – there were more negatives than positives and at the time I couldn’t attach myself to anything to keep my spirits up until I heard “Pink Matter“.
I’ll never forget it, I was at a house party while everyone was winding down. Those who were drunk were stumbling around the house trying to find a place to sit, there seemed to be no seats with the all the people present. Then out of nowhere someone starting playing “Pink Matter” through their phone speaker and I was instantly mesmerized, Frank Ocean‘s voice came on and it sounded like he was speaking directly to me.
[quote_box_center]”If it’s musically impressive, then its lyrical reach is frequently astonishing. Ocean has honed his cinematic eye for story here, telling complex, visual tales through a variety of narrators”- The Guardian[/quote_box_center]
The next day I purchased the album immediately not even knowing who he was and what I just bought, but I knew I had to have it. I listened to the entire album backwards and forwards, in order and out-of-order for a solid week over and over again. I forced my mom to play it in the car as we ran errands to get me ready for school. Each and every song had something in it that I felt or could truly relate to.
That album was ultimately my anchor, my silver lining, the positive spirit I needed in life. Though Frank Ocean has been teasing us with his next upcoming album Boys Don’t Cry (why Frank why!?), as excited as I am for it, I don’t believe it’ll surpass my love for Channel Orange. I want to thank Frank Ocean for creating music that gave me hope and thank you Darian for sharing your truth.
[quote_box_center]”… look at it for what it truly is—a man spilling his torn heart onto a record for the world to see and hear. There’s something in there that nearly everyone can relate to. It’s the album that helped me cope with heartbreak, mature as a person, and view the world from a different perspective” – Darian O’Neal, Pigeons&Planes[/quote_box_center]