After what seems like an entire decade, Frank Ocean has finally made a debut in 2016, after we last heard from him back in 2012, after the memorable release of Channel Orange. Now back on the radar, Ocean ended his silence with releasing an audio album Blond and a visual album entitled “Endless”. He even gifted us with a video for his first track entitled ”Nikes” along with publishing an art magazine Boys Don’t Cry.
While we were anxiously waiting to hear exactly what Frank was engendering, he, however, enjoyed the experience ”I had the time of my life making all of this. Thank you all. Especially those of you who never let me forget I had to finish. Which is basically every one of y’all. Haha. Love you.” Frank stated on his active Tumblr account. He also deliberately gave acknowledgment to his late attendance on his last track “Futura Free” as he sang “I ain’t on your schedule/I ain’t on no schedule.”
Even though Ocean had us disappointed far too many times by teasingly releasing false hope and had fans sleuths aggressively dissecting his mysterious agenda, it was all worth the 1,502 days wait!
Releasing 24 hours before the album itself, “Nikes” introduced the vibe of the album with a vintage spin on pop as Ocean experiments with voice tones and languages. The lyrics “These bitches want Nikes. They looking for a check, Tell ’em it ain’t likely” Focuses on materialistic objects that affects people today, hence the name of the track. What automatically stuck out was direct reference to Trayvon Martin, A$AP Yams and PIMP C as Ocean sang “R.I.P Trayvon that nigga look just like me”
Like everyone else, Frank relates this track to unfortunate relationships as he sang over a more weightless beat than the preceding track stating “All the things I didn’t mean to say, I didn’t mean to do. There were things you didn’t mean to say but you need to do” A repetitive statement spilled a lot of emotions in the chorus “I could hate you now, it’s quite alright to hate me now” followed by a hopeful comment of “We both know that deep down the feeling still deep down is good.” He then ends the song with a crackling falsetto!
Pink + White
Two songs into the album and Ocean has already wowed us, but this song took a big surprise which illuminates Frank’s confidence and deems him as the greatest by turning Beyonce into a backup singer. This track flows lightly as he still focuses on the failure of love and affection towards his [ex] lover.
This short track mimics a voicemail of an older woman who we are guessing is his mother by her farewell statements “This is mom, call me, bye” Her message of advice was direct to be yourself. “Many college students have gone to college and gotten hooked on drugs, marijuana, and alcohol. Listen, stop trying to be somebody else. Don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself and know that that’s good enough,” Even Mama Ocean is blessing us on the album.
Frank reminds us how powerful his vocals are on the hook of this track while failing to take his mother’s advice about using drugs in the last track “gone off tabs”. The entire track professes how he’ll be ending the night solo, but doesn’t want to be alone “We don’t gotta be solo” He also explains how he is spending more time sleeping and neglecting daily tasks which we can all agree on due to the four-year hiatus.
Skyline To (ft Kendrick Lamar)
Again, Frank features another great artist on his track utilizing them as a background. Kendrick Lamar appears on this track whispering a few words “smoke” and “haze” The 3-minute song expels random thoughts in Frank’s mind about the “joy of summer” and it’s “not long like it used to be / Everyday counts like crazy.”
Ocean draws the attention back to love, however, in a more heartfelt sense. He sings about the intimacy he shares with someone who causes him to lose his self-control. However, it’s revealed that his love wasn’t reciprocated as Frank sung “I know you gotta leave, I know you got someone coming” over a guitar melody from Austin Feinstein of the LA band Slow Hollows. Ocean’s serenade sounds very soft and delicate as he closes out the song.
Frank Ocean opens up about a date in a gay bar with another man in this emotional melodic tune. Even though his date is a good guy, Frank seems to not be as interested singing “ you talk too much, more than I do” and it’s simply “just a late night out”. A skit cuts in at the end of a conversation between two men conversing about not having “bitches no more” and how a mysterious woman, name Jasmine “wrecked” his heart.
>Dammit Jasmine, how could you!
This track breaks into two parts as Ocean starts describing recent events that craves “new beginning” for him. His tone gets a bit carefree as he expresses “shut the fuck up, I don’t want your conversation” The second half gets introduced by a more Hip Hop influenced beat as Frank switches it up as he raps about “Every night fucks every day up / Every day patches the night up”
Delivered by Andre 3000, Frank takes a step back as 3 stacks lyrically fuels up on a piano instrumental. It plays off the theme, corresponding to the earlier track ‘Solo’ as 3 stacks criticize the music industry today — “After 20 years in, I’m so naive I was under the impression that everyone wrote their own verses” along with many other harsh criticisms toward the industry.
This short interlude chimes a choir-like sound with an increasingly fast beat! “This is the blood, the body, the life right now.”
Facebook Story (ft. Sebastian)
Producer Sebastian tells a short story of an ex-girlfriend who dumped him because he wouldn’t accept for as a friend on Facebook. This short story that was told with a thick, heavy accent carries an abundance of emotions and feelings. It also correlates to the relationship insecurities of jealousy Ocean expressed throughout the album.
Close to You
This track was influenced by Stevie Wonder’s original tune “Close to you” by the Carpenters. Frank attuned a cover with a creative twist of his own.
This track title was revealed in 2015 when producer Atrak tweeted the title of the song along with the great excitement that left us anticipating to hear. “Mark my words: in a few weeks I’ll hear a song called White Ferrari, I can’t tell u who it’s by, but it’s the best thing you’ll hear this year.” The mellow song shares writing credits from James Blake, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Bon Iver. It delves into Frank’s earlier years, hometown and yet again his relationship with a past lover.
One of Frank’s most vulnerable track on the album. He contemplates his decisions as well as a vibrating a sense of isolation. “I rather live outside “ The low instrument compliments the pain in his voice as he wonders “maybe I’m a fool, maybe I should move / settle down with two kids and a swimming pool or a place with a nice view” He ends the first verse shouting “maybe I’m not brave”
This tune is a beautiful song that draws back to ‘Channel Orange’ to a subject that had listeners wonder who was Ocean’s secret lover. In this song, he expresses that familiar love “I will always love you, how I do.”
The final track wraps up the album with a nine-minute two part. The first half, Ocean reflects on his life before the fame and recollects how he “escaped” as well as remembering emails from Jay-Z, his old job and shares how Tyler, The Creator use to sleep his couch, which sums up the long friendship he had with the other artist. He then mentions how surprised he is that he is getting paid to do what he loves to do and how he “should be paying them momma” The second part drifts into an interview of someone asking questions “What’s your name? What’s your first memory? What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever witnessed? Do you have any secret talents?” Ocean speaks on how important it is to be you — advice he seemed to take throughout this last half.