Frank Ocean Releases a Very Different Type of Visual Album, Feat. Arca, James Blake, and Jonny Greenwood


Over two weeks ago, the New York Times had reported that Frank Ocean’s long-awaited, long-teased album Boys Don’t Cry would likely drop on Friday, August 5. That obviously didn’t happen, leading his many die-hard fans unhappy after having stayed up in anticipation the night before, watching Apple Music intently for signs of Oceanic life.

Now, finally (and it still feels like trepidation is required when saying “finally” to anything surrounding Ocean’s work, even if it’s already been released), Ocean has shared…something. It’s a “visual album,” titled Endless — but don’t let the same term used to describe Beyoncé’s Lemonade fool you. Visually, at least, this is a far more enigmatic, and less engaging, thing — it’s footage of a spiral staircase being built in a warehouse, similar to what Ocean had previously teased on his Boys Don’t Cry website. The visual component is a collaboration between director Francisco Soriano and Ocean.

Meanwhile, it seems Endless is just the beginning, and that Boys Don’t Cry itself will be released over the weekend — however, according to Rolling Stone, whatever that album may be, it’s no longer titled Boys Don’t Cry. So, let’s just say something else will be released. As Vulture noted in a very handy guide to all this, Ocean had cryptically written “I got two versions. I got twooo versions…” when he first teased the album formerly referred to as Boys Don’t Cry.

Endless comprises 18 tracks by the artist — including an updated version of the cover of Aaliyah’s cover of the Isley Brothers’ “At Your Best (You Are Love),” formerly shared on Tumblr. On select tracks, you’ll find contributors like Arca, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, James Blake, Jazmine Sullivan, Sampha, Alex G, and the London Contemporary Orchestra. Endless can be watched/listened to here.

The Guardian has already released a first impression review of the visual album, saying:

Of course, your view of Endless may well depend on how you approach it. If you’re expecting a conveyor belt line of hits, then you will be somewhat disappointed as much of this album floats by hazily and with no clear direction. Endless feels like an artistic statement before a pop album, even if it’s ultimately an impressive merging of the two.

Here’s the Endless track list, via Rolling Stone:

1. Device Control 2. Alabama 3. U-N-I-T-Y 4. Commes Des Garcons 5. Wither 6. In Here Somewhere 7. Sideways 8. Deathwish (ASR) 9. Rushes To 10. At Your Best (You Are Love)” 11. Mine 12. Ambience 001: In a Certain Way 13. Ambience 002: Honeybaby 14. Hublots 15. Slide on Me 16. Florida 17. Rushes 18. Higgs