Original story (8/20): More than four years after the release of Channel Orange and ongoing nail-biting anticipation, Frank Ocean's new album Blonde has finally arrived today (Aug. 20). Stream and download it here via Apple Music. The record, which clocks in at 17 tracks on the digital version (12 on the physical CD), comes after the artist unexpectedly dropped his Endless visual project earlier this week. It proves the rumors about a second release were true: the singer does indeed "got twooo versions…”
Based on Ocean's “album contributors” section from his Boys Don’t Cry magazine, Blonde features a heavy dose of guest credits from Beyoncé (she previously collaborated with him on 4's "I Miss You" and "Superpower" off her self-titled 2013 LP), David Bowie, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, the Beatles, Andre 3000 (who was featured on Channel Orange's "Pink Matter"), Brian Eno, Pharrell, Jamie xx and a handful of others. As of now, there is no clarification of what songs or how much these artists helped with for the LP, or if their work was sampled.
The album (which is stylized as "Blond" on the album cover) kicks off with "Nikes," the song Ocean released a NSFW video for just a few hours ago. Check out Fuse's Complete Guide to Frank Ocean's Blonde while you listen.
The saga to Blonde has been an epic, confusing blown-out, frustrating and sometimes tiring one. As early as February 2013, Ocean said he had 10 or 11 songs finished. In April 2015, the Tumblr post clicked round the word: a photo of Frank staring down at two magazines titled Boys Don't Cry, captioned, "I got two versions. I got twoooo versions. #ISSUE1 #ALBUM3 #JULY2015 #BOYSDONTCRY." (The mixtape Nostalgia Ultra equals LP1 for Frank.)
July 2015, of course, came, went, then became ancient history. Several significant leaks briefly appeared at the end of February 2016, but otherwise, nothing until July 2, when Frank's site updated with this, sans commentary:
Earlier this month, an ominous livestream popped up on the artist's official website. The black-and-white video stream didn't allude to any release or played new music, but instead featured Ocean doing woodwork with instrumentals playing in the background.
The New York Times then reported that Boys Don't Cry will drop on Aug. 5 via Apple Music, which was confirmed to them by a source of the streaming service. That, of course, didn't happen. Then, a Reddit user uploaded all of those instrumentals from the livestream to Soundcloud for fans to enjoy in anticipation of the record.
All of these events drove the Internet wild as they speculated when the album will be released, which led to Ocean dropping the Endless visual project (which was lifted from the livestream) on Aug. 19. Now we can all rest easy, and finally enjoy and dissect Blonde.
For album's release, Frank opened select pop-up shops in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and London, Rolling Stone reports. The stores included the album and copies of the singer's 360-page Boys Don't Cry magazine he hinted at months prior. According to RS, the publication includes interviews with Lil B and Ocean's mother, as well as a screenplay, horoscopes and a "hopes and dreams" section.
Digital Blonde Tracklist:
3. Pink + White
4. Be Yourself
6. Skyline To
7. Self Control
8. Good Guy
10. Solo (Reprise)
11. Pretty Sweet
12. Facebook Story
13. Close to You
14. White Ferrari
17. Futura Free
Physical Blonde Tracklist
1. Pretty Sweet
2. Mitsubishi Sony
4. Pink & White
7. Skyline To
9. White Ferrari
12. Futura Free
Watch Frank talk about his favorite music at the BRIT Awards below: