Frank Ocean‘s debut studio album Channel Orange was a great piece of music that faired brilliantly in the charts, received wide critical acclaim all the while sustaining his credibility as an artist without selling out. nostalgia, ULTRA was Ocean’s first effort and came in the form of a mixtape, released before his rise to stardom alongside Tyler’s Goblin and the compilation effort from Odd Future – 12 Odd Future Songs.
nostalgia, ULTRA is arguably the best album released under the Odd Future brand and paved the way to stardom for Ocean, the mixtape resulted in wide respect among his peers including Kanye West who recruited him for Watch The Throne.
Coldplay, Mr Hudson, Radiohead and The Eagles are all covered in Nostalgia, ULTRA and all are particular standouts on the album, American Wedding especially. Despite the controversy surrounding the song in regards to its unlawful use by Ocean, it’s lyrically flawless. ‘She said i’ve had a hell of a summer, so baby don’t take this hard, but maybe we should get an annulment, before this goes way to far’, the lyrics are so personal and convincing you genuinely feel Ocean’s despair at marrying too young to his childhood sweetheart, the original Eagles guitar solo remains, paying homage to the classic rock tune the song epitomises.
Swim Good, There Will Be Tears, Songs For Women and We All Try all make for an enjoyable listen, but it’s the little details that wrap up the album and make it as good as it is. Nicole Kidman’s voice draped over lovecrimes, the sharing of Strawberry Swing with Chris Martin, the stop/start sound effects of a tape player, all these little perfections and tweaks make nostalgia, ULTRA one of the most exciting R&B/Soul records to come out in the last five years.