As far as melody and instrumentation are concerned, CO features some stellar sounds, such as the bass line on Pink Matter or the effortless falsetto Frank employs on Thinking Bout You. Well crafted, CO is beautifully cohesive and each song flows into and compliments the next. CO hangs it hat on that, its cohesiveness. People will either hail it for how every song meshes seamlessly or deem it average for lacking distinct songs. It has the potential to grow on you if you give it the chance, but upon first listen, it won't give you any reason to give it that chance. Its predecessor, nostalgia, ULTRA, drew you in immediately with its quality single, "Novacane." As far as lyrics are concerned, NU is equally as depressing as CO on a few songs(JUST a few, which is an immediate contrast to CO), but on NU, those blue feelings are treated subtly and are dealt with more in a manner of self-reflection rather than self-pity. The emotional low points on NU are either set to uptempo beats or written in a reflective manner, mitigating the depressing effect that lyrics about heartbreak and suicide would normally have. Our deepest moments are the ones riddled with pain, but they can never and will never add depth to our selves until and unless we recognize that there is more to living and love than pain.
All things considered, channel ORANGE will probably be remembered as the more significant of the two albums, much in the same way most critics laud Voodoo as D'Angelo's best work, casting Brown Sugar aside with nary a second thought. But for me, nostalgia, ULTRA told me more about Frank as a person than channel ORANGE did. For all the talk of CO being a deeply personal album, and it is, NU, to me, is more expressive of who Frank is, whereas CO is more explanatory of a mood stemming from a very specific time in his life. NU flowed with a stream of consciousness style, it was lyrically erratic yet poignant, instrumentally and sonically diverse and featured enjoyable singing. CO on the other hand felt more calculated and lacked feeling for much of the album, yet the instrumentation and musicality was well done, well executed. But as far as his singing on this album goes, I only really enjoyed Frank's singing on Thinking Bout You. That isn't to say it was bad, just that it didn't jam the way his singing on NU did. So, all that said...
My verdict: nostalgia, ULTRA > channel ORANGE.
(this is subject to eventual change of course, lol. it's only been like 3 weeks >_>)
"May love ever possess you, may peace come into your life."