We’ve been thinkin’ ’bout you, Frank Ocean!
In the four years since the release of Ocean’s Grammy-winning, happy-making Channel Orange, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter has been teasing us with promises (and more promises…and more promises) of new music. There have been cryptic missives, some intriguing video clues, at least one fake-out release date–all revolving around an album that was rumored to be titled Boys Don’t Cry. But it wasn’t until Thursday night that we finally got a drop of the Ocean, courtesy of Endless, a 45-minute, 18-track “visual album” available exclusively through Apple Music. It’s a part of the new visual album trend spearheaded by Beyonce’s Lemonade earlier this year.
Directed by Ocean himself, and shot in crisp black and white, Endless is a single-location, slow-building narrative that finds the singer working out of a massive warehouse, putting together what turns out to be a giant wooden staircase. The music is layered and dreamy, full of mid-tempo numbers that highlight Ocean’s supple, soaring vocals. Along with such new tracks as “Florida” and “Device Control,” Endless includes a handful of ambient songs, as well as a cover of the Isley Brothers’ 1976 hit “At Your Best (You Are Love”), which was also covered by Aaliyah. According to the movie’s end credits, the strings for Ocean’s “At Your Best” were orchestrated by Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood; other artists to work on the album include James Blake, indie singer-songwriter Alex G, and R&B queen Jazmine Sullivan (whose most recent record, Reality Show, is so, so great, and absolutely worth picking up while you’re on iTunes).
But Endless is just the beginning of what looks to be a long weekend for Ocean: According to a statement from Apple Music, listeners should “keep an eye out this weekend for more from Frank.” Considering that the singer once promised he had “twooo versions” of his latest project, it’s highly possible that we’ll also hear Boys Don’t Cry this weekend, as well, so get ready to … oh, wait! According to Rolling Stone, Ocean has changed his mind yet again, and the album’s title is no longer Boys Don’t Cry (a fact that will no doubt make Robert Smith’s day, assuming that dude cares about his Google-search results). In conclusion: No one really knows what’s happening, but either Frank Ocean is going to put out more music this weekend, or he’s going to show up at your house and offer to build an extension to your bathroom. We’d be happy with either option!