Brow Beat

Frank Ocean Finally Released a New Album, but It’s Not Quite What You Expected


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Shortly before midnight on Thursday, that ever-mystifying video stream of Frank Ocean building something in a warehouse reappeared on his website—only this time, instead of just instrumental music, entire songs featuring new vocals from the singer accompanied the imagery.

Twitter, appropriately, freaked out.

The video ended just as the clock struck 12—Ocean’s long-gestating construction having been revealed as a standalone winding staircase—and minutes later, Endless appeared on Apple Music. A 45-minute visual album consisting of that same imagery from the warehouse, it features over a dozen lush, introspective new songs. (That is, after first opening up with something a bit old, and borrowed: The opening track finds Ocean floating in falsetto for a cover of the Isley Brothers’ classic R&B slow-jam, “At Your Best,” by way of Aaliyah. It waspreviously shared on his website early last year in honor of the late singer’s birthday.) Overall, the tracks fit more into the mold of his dark, eerie André 3000 collaboration “Pink Matter” than say, the catchy, Stevie Wonder–esque “Super Rich Kids.”

Endless features collaborations with James Blake, Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, and Jazmine Sullivan, who provides additional and background vocals on several tracks. But there’s a twist—as Rolling Stone confirms, this is not the Boys Don’t Cry project we’ve all been eagerly anticipating; rather, that “proper new album” is separate from Endless and is still forthcoming on Apple Music sometime this weekend. Rolling Stone also reports that Ocean will no longer be calling it Boys Don’t Cry. Even when giving the fans what they want—a whole delicious batch of previously unheard material to dive into after years of anticipation—Ocean remains characteristically enigmatic.