Last week, the internet was abuzz with avant-R&B star Frank Ocean's apparent coming out letter on his Tumblr page, but in a lot of ways, it seems like trying to define the guy's sexuality based on a mini-memoir about a specific time in his life might be short-sighted. The guy is still certainly a mystery (even more confused by his connection to the seemingly homophobic lyrics spouted by the hip-hop crew he associates with, Odd Future), but fussing about his sexuality seems to miss the point that he's working to create art based on moments in his life without having the distraction of critics trying to decipher the pronouns he uses in his songs and what they mean. I guess it makes it easier for us to be able to put Ocean in one demographic box or another, but maybe we should make an effort to just appreciate the fact that he's doing something bold and interesting with the form of R&B.
The promotional push for Ocean's new album Channel Orange began in earnest last night, with his television debut on Jimmy Fallon (performing "Bad Religion," one of the songs that sparked the questions about his sexuality in the first place) and today, the album is available to stream on his website or to purchase on iTunes, a week ahead of its official release date.
Based on what I've been able to listen to so far, if you enjoy the music of soul weirdos like Prince, D'Angelo or Maxwell, you should really just go ahead and buy the album. You're not going to want to be tied to your laptop to have the opportunity to listen to it over and over.
This decades-old series features readings by well-known Tucson writers and an open mic for poets, performance artists… More