Photo: FilmMagic (Getty Images)
Frank Ocean finally spoke this weekend and a lot of people listened. The enigmatic R&B crooner ended his four-year silence (at least musically) in “true 21st Century artist” form by breaking the internet.
Since Thursday, Ocean has been #trending after releasing a sea of new work across music, film, digital and print media with two new albums (Blonde and a “visual album” called Endless) — both exclusive to Apple Music; a video for the song “Nikes” (see it below) and an oversize art magazine, Boys Don’t Cry, which includes a CD version of Blonde and was made available free at pop-up shops in four cities.
All this creative output is a testament to Ocean’s vision, which was perhaps unfairly clouded by fans and critics after constant restarts, reshuffles, and promises of a follow-up to the Grammy Award-winner’s game-changing Channel Orange album. We all wanted more and now we finally have it.
Blond or Blonde as it appears on Apple Music boasts a “who’s who” in cameos (Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, James Blake), producers (Johnny Greenwood, Kanye West) and I’m assuming inspirations (David Bowie, the Beatles).
Although not as a rousing introduction to the birth of a new star as Channel Orange, Blonde and Endless are both dense, layered, radiant works of art that solidify Ocean as a singer/ songwriter/ filmmaker/ essayist/ photographer who can’t be defined, both in terms of sexual fluidity and musical ambiguity.
Thank you, Frank. It was well worth the wait.