When Channel ORANGE dropped, I was midway through the summer before my senior year of high school in Miami, Florida. I don’t remember who or what initially turned me on to Frank Ocean’s syrupy-smooth sound, but I do remember that Channel ORANGE struck a chord at that particular moment in my life.
There was something about the way Frank purrs “grapevine, mango, peaches and lime” on “Sweet Life” that nailed the lazy bliss that is summer in my hometown, sticky humidity, thunderstorms and all. There was something about “Rich Kids” and the glorious, gluttonous excess of Miami that afflicts any kid growing up in the city. And there was something about those last four lines of my favorite, “White”—“I forget 23 like I forget 17” or “I forget my first love, like you forget a daydream”—that thrust me into recognition of all the time that had gone by.
But here’s where I make a confession. While everyone else has been blasting Frank for holding out on us for so many years, I’ve been sort of okay with it. Even though the tracks on Channel ORANGE had less to do with my life than I liked to believe they did at 17, I can’t help but associate the album with the last summer of my high school years. I liked Frank staying put there, so I could have at least something to come back to.
Now, as we’re inching closer to possibly the most hyped album in existence, I feel a weird mix of thrill for the future and nostalgia for the past. We’ve come full circle, Frank: It’s the summer before senior year again, but this time, I’ll be graduating college.
Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t among the fans crossing their fingers that on Friday, that fabled album actually goes live. In the end, I’m glad Frank is moving on to bigger (and hopefully even better) things. He's moved on. And you know what? Now that I think about it, I guess I’ve moved on, too.—Tatiana Cirisano