Rising R&B star Frank Ocean made his network TV debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, creating a tsunami of trending topics along the way. A few hours before Fallon aired at 12:30 a.m., Pitchfork reported that Ocean’s highly anticipated Channel ORANGE LP would be hitting the iTunes Store at midnight, a full week before the album’s official July 17th street date; it promptly went straight to #1 on the charts, where it still sits at this time. Proving that he “gets it,” Ocean has also made his major label debut available to stream in its entirety on his Tumblr; as a result, the Internet is sure to be dominated by conversation about Frank Ocean again today, much like it has been for the last week and some change.
Ocean performed “Bad Religion,” a track off Channel ORANGE, aided by a string section and the legendary Roots crew. If you interpret the lyrics in a literal fashion, it can be read as a harsh critique of Islam (“If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion”). However, peel back a layer or two and the song takes on an entirely different meaning, one in which Ocean struggles to deal with a love that’s both unreciprocated and, in the eyes of most of the world, unconventional. “This unrequited love/To me is nothing but a one man cult/Cyanide in my styrofoam cup/I could never make him love me,” he plaintively confesses, shedding some additional light on last week’s controversy regarding Ocean’s sexuality. It’s a bold statement from a very promising artist, and we look forward to spending a lot more time with the album over the coming days and weeks.