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Frank Ocean finally ships copies of his album Endless

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A CD of the album, Endless

A CD of the album, Endless

Staff Photo by Chase Cofield

Staff Photo by Chase Cofield

A CD of the album, Endless

If there’s any contemporary artist that is truly elusive in an age where social media feels like an obligation, it would be Frank Ocean. Frank Ocean rarely uses social media as a means to interact with fans but when he does use it, he makes Tumblr that are either informational or cryptic. On his webstore, blonded.co, Frank Ocean dropped a surprise release of physical copies for his second album Endless along with posters. Fans had the chance to purchase a CD, vinyl, or even a VHS tape.

Endless is a visual album that released a day before his critically-acclaimed album, Blonde. The album was teased just weeks before through a live stream depicting Frank Ocean in a warehouse building some mysterious contraption. Unlike Blonde, Endless didn’t receive that much attention outside of dedicated Frank Ocean fans. This was mainly due to the album being exclusive to Apple Music. If the listener can’t extract a zip file to iTunes, there’s no real convenient way they can listen to the album track by track. With the release of physical copies, fans and listeners may finally get to experience the album in its true form.

Last November, the joy of purchasing a copy of the album was soon short-lived as the promised shipping date kept passing and passing. Customers purchased the album hoping that it would arrive 6-8 weeks later, but that wasn’t the case. It took all way up until the week of April 8 for the CDs and vinyl to ship to customers when they were posted on blonded.co.

On the cult-like fan subreddit on reddit.com , /r/frankocean, users made several comments, posts, and even memes on the excessively long wait for their package to arrive on their doorstep. Many fans were also annoyed by the typical lack of communication from Frank Ocean or the shipping company responsible for the arrival of the packages.

User /u/SCHR4DERBRAU submitted a post on the subreddit stating under it saying “At this point it’s beyond a joke, it’s not defendable no matter how big of a cult [fan-base nickname] member you are. I love Frank, I love his music more than anything. But some communication at the bare minimum would be appreciated, show a little bit of respect to your dedicated fans by at least sending us an update email with an apology for the delay, and an expected delivery date.”

Thankfully the waiting has paid off for fans as both CD’s and vinyl have shipped. In terms of packaging, it comes with a CD of the album and a DVD of the 45-minute visual component. The new album cover comes with iridescent stickers on it that represent the abstract nature of the album.

The album hasn’t necessarily changed dramatically outside of a new tracklist and better mixing of the instrumentation. Compared to the other albums in Frank Ocean’s discography, Endless is drastically different from channel ORANGE or Blonde.

The album feels colder in nature compared to the warm feelings evoked in either channel Orange or Blonde. It makes more use of percussion, synthesizers, and avant-garde vocals. On the song “U-N-I-T-Y”, Ocean nonchalantly cruises over a very lowkey, melodic while rapping. In “Mitsubishi Sony”, Ocean raps over an upbeat electronic beat.  The record as a whole feels more experimental and maximalistic than the minimalistic Blonde. The album sort of lacks the thematic cohesiveness that his other albums share but it still contains some of the rawest vocals in Frank Ocean’s career.

Despite the long wait for the package, Endless is still an album worth owning and holding in hand. Even though it shares the status of being the neglected middle-child in Frank Ocean’s discography it contains the some of the best songs and vocals that Frank Ocean has ever sung. I hope one day that the record lands on streaming services so listeners who don’t own the album will get to experience 45 minutes of a unique piece of music from a once in a generation talent.

 

 

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