Before ‘Channel Orange’: A Timeline of Frank Ocean’s Best Songs

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    Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” arrived on iTunes this week and remains at the top of the digital charts–pushed there perhaps by the singer’s recent announcement confirming rumors about his sexuality, but certainly sustained by the album’s genuinely hype-confirming greatness. “Channel Orange” is the ultimate summertime album, combining Ocean’s R&B roots with ambient sounds and matching guitar riffs by the likes of John Mayer. And while this might be his debut album, Ocean’s work goes back quite a bit and here are some tracks that are worth adding to your Frank Ocean playlists.

    I Miss You (Beyonce’s 4)

    Beyonce’s version:

    Ocean’s version:

    Ocean helped pen this track for Beyonce’s latest album, “4”, and while Beyonce’s version is near-perfect, Ocean’s live performances of the sorrowful song makes you wish he’d saved it for “Channel Orange”.

    Swim Good (Nostalgia, Ultra)

    Ocean’s mixtape “nostalgia, Ultra” was perhaps ready to be his debut –with charting tracks like “Novocaine” and “Swim Good” (featured above) and stand-outs including the Hotel California sampling “American Wedding” and braggadocio “Songs for Women.”

    Acura Integurl (Unreleased on The Lonny Breaux Collection)

    An unfinished track that Ocean completed with urgings of his fans, “Acura Integurl” tells the story of a man’s true love: his ‘91 Acura Integra. There are no questions about that.

    Standing Still (Unreleased on The Lonny Breaux Collection)

    Named after Ocean’s given name, Christopher “Lonny” Breaux, The Lonny Breaux Collection was a collection of 63 unreleased tracks that fans put together and featured Ocean along with producers including Midi Mafia and Underdogs.

    Made in America (Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne)

    Ocean’s hooks are featured on two tracks on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne: the heartfelt Made in America and the booming No Church In The Wild. While both are arguably stand-out tracks on the Grammy-winning album, “Made in America’s” gorgeous patriotic anthem takes the cake.

    Analog 2 (Odd Future’s The OF Tape Vol 2)

    Odd Future’s newest release–mixtape released earlier this year–features all of the crew: from the fabled Earl Sweatshirt to Syd Tha Kid’s own musical side project, “The Internet.” It even features Ocean rapping (a true rarity) on the 10+ minute long track, “Oldie.”

    Rico (MellowHype’s BlackenedWhite)

    Odd Future offshoot, “MellowHype,” featured Ocean on their 2011 album, “BlackenedWhite” on a dark track called “Rico.”

    Bigger (Justin Bieber’s My World)

    Yes, Ocean’s name even appears in the credits of a pre-pubescent Bieber’s first album, “My World,” on a bouncy track called “Bigger”

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