Another thing the song does is establish an underlying, ongoing theme that recurs at various points throughout the album: life and living in the greater Los Angeles area. The song that most overtly pushes the theme is "Sweet Life," a tale about a rich kid who's been so insulated and spoiled so much while growing up in the L.A. neighborhood of Ladera Heights -- aka "the black Beverly Hills" -- that they have no curiosity about anything outside their little bubble. Or as Frank rhetorically puts it in the song: "You've had a landscaper and a housekeeper since you were born, the sunshine always kept you warm/So why see the world when you've got the beach?"
For those curious, Ocean does explore love and romance on numerous Channel Orange songs, but none are particularly explicit, and on just two -- "Bad Religion" and "Forrest Gump" -- does he refer to a romantic interest as a "he." On "Bad Religion," Ocean sings of unrequited love and accompanying guilt: "I can never make him love me," he mournfully croons. "Only a bad religion would have me feel the way I do." And on the playfully sensual "Forrest Gump," Ocean tastefully sings about lusting after a rugged yet gentle athlete whom he's given a pet nickname: "Forrest Gump you run my mind boy, runnin' on my mind, boy," he sings. But interestingly, the most involved song about relationships and romance -- if it can even be called that -- is "Pyramids," a 10-minute, time-spanning opus whose first half takes place in ancient Egypt, while the second is set in a modern-day hotel room.
Overall, not every track on Channel Orange works -- the cluttered track "Monks" most notably, which sounds like a glorified demo -- but this is an album definitely worth picking up. Although some may find it a difficult listen at first because it's complex narratives can be hard to digest and are much different from the overly simplistic R&B that's typically spoon-fed to the masses these days, repeated listening helps you understand the full picture. And when it comes to the big picture, Channel Orange could very well go down as one of the best, most important R&B albums of not only of the year, but of the entire decade.