Following years of missed deadlines and broken promises, Frank Ocean premiered his visual album, Endless, on Thursday, as well as a video for new single, “Nikes”. Yesterday, Ocean further sated fans desire for new music, releasing his official sophomore LP, Blonde, along with its accompanying free magazine, Boys Don’t Cry.
Hours after Endless’ release, an Apple Music representative confirmed to Rolling Stone and The New York Times that Ocean would share additional material later in the week. On August 21st, Ocean upheld the source’s promise, debuting both his official new LP and Boys Don’t Cry. Confusingly, Ocean had previously said he was planning to title his sophomore album Boys Don’t Cry. It is unclear what prompted the name change.
Blonde consists of 17 tracks and boasts an impressive array of credited artists, including David Bowie, Kanye West, Jamie xx, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, the Beatles, André 3000, Brian Eno, Pharrell, Elliott Smith, and many more. Notably, Andre 3000 drops a guest verse on “Solo (Reprise)”, while “Siegfried” and “White Ferrari” feature lyrics from Elliott Smith’s “A Fond Farewell” and the Beatles’ “Here, There, and Everywhere” respectively.
The new album marks Ocean’s second official LP, and first since 2012’s universally acclaimed Channel Orange. Blonde features cover photography from techno artist Wolfgang Tillmans, whose own song “Device Control” begins and ends Endless. Ocean, a former ghostwriter for pop artists including Justin Bieber, John Legend, and Beyoncé released his debut mixtape, Nostalgia Ultra, back in 2011.
Prior to Blonde’s official release, Ocean issued multiple false promises regarding the release of new music. In late 2013, Ocean hinted he would release his sophomore LP the following summer. In 2015, he hinted an album would drop this July. Recently, The New York Times reported Ocean’s new album and its accompanying print publication would hit shelves August 5.
The Verge reports that Blonde will remain Apple Music exclusive for two weeks. The Verge also claim that Ocean pushed back his Blonde’s release due to The New York Times article announcing the album would be out August 5. The Times report “caused Ocean and his team to push the project back after they lost the element of surprise,” the Verge said, citing “a source close to the situation.”
Initial critical reception to Blonde is extremely favorable. Rolling Stone said the album is a “dizzy, trippy, druggy marvel.” The Guardian claimed Blonde “is going to be an album worth living with.” The Verge said the album “exists in a beautiful limbo.”
Unlike Blonde, which received a wide release, Ocean only made his magazine, Boys Don’t Cry, available at pop-up shops in four cities–New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and London. Fans who purchased Blonde at these locations received a free copy of the magazine.
The magazine features Endless collaborators Tom Sachs, Tyrone Lebon, and Wolfgang Tillmans, interviews with Lil’ B and Katonya Breaux (Ocean’s mother), a pitch for a TV series, photos from a fashion shoot and several poems written by Ocean, as well as one penned by Kanye West. Ocean and West previously collaborated on Life of Pablo track “Wolves”.
Magazine holders have noted the Blonde tracklist listed in Boys Don’t Cry varies from the one listed on Apple Music. Ocean later confirmed the difference, posting on Tumbler, “I got two versions.” The magazine version of the album does not contain “Nikes”.
Shortly after publication, Boys Don’t Cry and its accompanying CD were listed for sale on EBay for increasingly large sums. Buy now prices on Ocean’s products have at this time exceeded $1000, while auction prices have exceeded $500. Ocean’s mother herself has told fans to delay purchasing the magazine, hinting through Twitter Boys Don’t Cry will shortly receive wider publication.
03 Pink + White
04 Be Yourself
06 Skyline To
07 Self Control
08 Good Guy
10 Solo (Reprise)
11 Pretty Sweet
12 Facebook Story
13 Close to You
14 White Ferrari
17 Futura Free