[UPDATE Aug. 20: Frank Ocean dropped his new album, Blonde, on Saturday. It is streaming on Apple Music, features 17 tracks and was released along with a 360-page printed publication called Boys Don't Cry at pop-up stores in L.A., New York, London and Chicago, according to The Los Angeles Times. The star-studded list of album contributors includes "Andre 3000, Beyoncé, James Blake, Jamie XX, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Malay, Om'Mas Keith, Tyler the Creator, Rick Rubin and Pharrell Williams."]
ORIGINAL POST: After what seems like endless speculation about what R&B singer Frank Ocean has been up to, the curtain lifted a little Thursday night with Endless, a 45-minute visual album streaming on Apple Music. Here's what you need to know:
Ocean's last album was the buzzy Channel Orange in 2012, but his musical appearances have been few since. But they've been big, such as appearing on Beyoncé's 2013 album (called Beyoncé) and Kanye West's Life of Pablo this year. "He also allegedly hit the studio with artists from Depeche Mode to Lil B to Danger Mouse, although none of that material emerged," according to Entertainment Weekly.
There' s still more to look forward to
Rolling Stone reports that Endless is "a different project from his proper new album. That album, set for release by Apple this weekend, was previously called Boys Don't Cry, but Rolling Stone has learned that the singer has scrapped that title in favor of an alternate title." So, there's still plenty of enigma wrapped in a mystery for us to ponder.
What it's like
The aesthetic of Endless is much like black-and-white warehouse images that have been streaming at boysdontcry.co (lots of woodworking going on there). In the video-over-music, which features 18 songs, Ocean builds a spiral staircase, according to The New York Times. Song titles include "Alabama," "U-N-I-T-Y," "In Here Somewhere,'' "Florida," "Deathwish (ASR)" and "Higgs." There are also a couple "ambient interludes," and a cover of "At Your Best (You Are Love)" by the Isley Brothers, according to the Times report. (Ocean released the cover on his Tumblr last year on what would have been Aaliyah's 36th birthday.)
Who's on it
Famous folks who made contributions include Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood (on string orchestration); James Blake; Arca; Sampha; and singer Jazmine Sullivan, according to Billboard.
What everyone's saying
First listen pieces are popping up all over. Plus, there's an interesting note on the many mobile devices (Sony, Samsung, Apple) mentioned in the final track at The Verge. Ocean's fans were joyful (if a little over the long wait) and had plenty to say about it.