Last week may have been the best week ever if you were a Frank Ocean fan. We received not one but two albums! In 2 days! It had been 4 years since Channel Orange was released and that was pretty much the last complete piece of work we’ve received from the mysterious Mr. Ocean since then. He teased us with a Tumblr post. But months passed and there was still no word of anything. Many of us had lost hope. Frank even had Adele asking where the hell he was. Thankfully after months of relative radio silence outside of a few Tumblr posts, Frank came out of nowhere with a stream on his website which eventually lead to his Endless Visual album being released on August 19th and the internet lost its collective shit.
New Frank Ocean, get your dicks out!!
A little bit of history between me and the man in question, I’ve been a fan of the dude since I wanna say 2011? Just a little bit after he released Nostalgia Ultra, I found the highly addictive song Novacane and got hooked. This was the time I was a huge metalhead so being into an R&B song was especially unheard of considering I didn’t really care for the genre. But I loved the song and the rest of the mixtape and stumbled onto his Lonny Breaux Collection and became a total bonafide fan. Dude knows how to make great music so when he made and released Channel Orange, that album became one of my favorite albums ever. It was just so great and made me enjoy his music even more. So you can imagine my excitement when he finally dropped some new music. So let’s get on with it. Endless might be a bit of a outlier because Frank went ahead and released it as a visual album much like Beyonce’s Lemonade. So it appears as a 45 minute music video on iTunes and Apple Music. One I’ve actually yet to see because to be Frank (hehe) I don’t really care for music videos. When I heard that there was new Frank Ocean, I wasn’t rushing to see it, I was rushing to hear it. Mind you, I had my best friend inform me via 27 Facebook messages after 1am when I had work in the morning so you can imagine my half-asleep excitement when I woke up to hear that there was new music. Eventually the visual album/music video was converted into a 17 track album that widely differs because so many people have different opinions on when particular songs end and when they begin but that’s besides the point. So I listened to the 17 track visual album
with my dick out. And I enjoyed it. To an extent.
I enjoyed it more simply because it was new Frank. To put it simply, this album is bizarre and nothing at all to what Frank’s prior works sound like. It was quite easily the hardest to digest and accurately interpret kind of music that I’ve listened to all year (considering I listen to Chance the Rapper, Jon Bellion, Drake and many others, its easy to say my music taste isn’t hugely complex). Genre-wise, I can’t even define it. It took quite a few listens for me to fully enjoy this album.
There’s a ton of songs I enjoyed on this album. Comme des Garçons, Higgs, U-N-I-T-Y, Alabama, Rush, Slide on Me are just a few but I think my favorite thing about the album is how concise it is. Rather than sounding like an album with individual songs, it feels like one giant 45 minute song. Most of the tracks effortlessly flow into each other so that’s how most of the confusion about the song beginnings and endings start. Mine, U-N-I-T-Y and Ambiance 001 – In A Certain Way could legitimately be one track, that’s how well they flow into each other. Rush is a easy standout with how well the production is and how the second half of the song is just….I’m just gonna call it gorgeous. Slide on Me is easily my favorite song on the album and probably one of the few tracks you could listen to just as a song rather than the album as a whole. The album was designed to be listened to all in one listen (or multiple listens if you like it that much) so many of the tracks were designed to be listened to as a whole rather than a song by song basis. If that makes any sense. This album’s still blowing my mind, I apologize.
That outro at the end of Higgs which is just a fantastic song was really off-putting. Its not often I listen to house music because I think its repetitive as all hell and this song did not change my opinion of it at all. It seemed extremely out of place sound wise. Thematically, it makes sense because I think it was poking fun at the grip that technology has on us. Many Frank Ocean fans were utterly stuck on that stream he started in early August desperately looking for clues on any development of new music and I think that’s what he was trying to say by putting that random techno house song at the end of the album. And obviously our generation and society as a whole is pretty stuck on technology so there’s that as well. Outside of that, I didn’t have major issues with the album other than many of the tracks being notoriously short. Songs like Comme des Garçons, Higgs, U-N-I-T-Y and Alabama are so good but end right before they start you wish they were longer.
So that’s a music review and the most up to date one I’ve written release date to review date wise. Hope you enjoyed it. I’ve yet to watch the visual album and I don’t think I ever will but I will start writing up on Blonde and hope to have it up by maybe tomorrow so stay tuned for me. What a great week music wise.