Channel Orange is a strange, beautiful thing. Like some combination of Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, Beck’s Midnite Vultures, and Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear, with ripples of George Benson’s Beyond the Blue Horizon tossed in, it is simultaneously reaching and small. There are big orchestral swings, and little glances at melody. It opens with a short track called “Start” that is essentially the start-up screen from the original PlayStation. There’s a 10-minute song smack in the middle called “Pyramids.” It’s stitched together by intermittent recordings from old television shows and radio calls, the cries of mad, weird people surrounded by earnest, soft-focus songs. Like so many of the best, wounded oddities from American culture, from Raymond Chandler to Paul Thomas Anderson to Steely Dan, Southern California is the setting.
c’mon, that description doesn’t make you curious and kinda super excited? (also, the three guest appearances are Earl, Andre 3000, and John Mayer, whahuh?!?)