Yes, It has finally happened. After years of teasers, cryptic twitter posts and general uncertainty Frank Ocean has finally released his long awaited third album.
Fans initially thought the album was being released when Ocean unveiled a 45 minute film titled ‘Endless’ on Apple Music on August 19. The film was launched online without warning and with the promise of more music to come. The next morning a video for the song ‘Nikes’ appeared online and that afternoon ‘Blonde’ was released.
Even the manner in which the album was dispersed was far from conventional. ‘Blonde’ came out on Apple Music whilst simultaneously being given away at four pop up shops. The pop up shops appeared in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and London and allowed fans to get their hands on a free magazine entitled ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (a name that was originally thought to be the new album’s title).
The magazines are said to contain the CD version of ‘Blonde’ (which has a different running order to the Apple Music version), a number of short stories, a pitch for a TV series, interviews with Om’Mas Keith and Lil B, poems written by Ocean and photographs from a fashion shoot.
‘Blonde’ is a much mellower, low key record than Ocean’s previous album ‘Channel Orange’. On the face of it, the record doesn’t seem to have any obvious hits, but feels like a more thought out complete story. There are a number of guest collaborations on ‘Blonde’ including James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000 and Beyonce Knowles however, many of these collaborations are very subtle and often quite low in the mix (particularly Beyonce).
Prepare to hear a lot about Ocean over the coming months, as ‘Blonde’ is already being hailed as one of the records of the year. ‘Channel Orange’ peaked at number 2 in the US and UK album charts but you can almost guarantee that Ocean’s latest offering will do one better.