Channel Orange was released in 2012 under a repaired relationship with DefJam Records. It was also made available for download on itunes. In the same year Ocean released an open letter on his Tumblr page in which he revealed his bi-sexual sexual orientation which received significant public support. Channel Orange was released a week earlier than expected to prevent the possibility of the album being leaked online. Upon release the album was also made available for online streaming on Ocean’s Tumblr site and immediately shot to number on Famed American music listing site Billboard. Channel Orange won the 2013 Grammy Award for best urban contemporary album.
Notably, “No church in the wild,” co-written by Jay-Z and Kanye West and featuring vocals sung by Ocean, won the 2013 Grammy for best rap/sung collaboration. Fans were left in the dark after Ocean’s 2012 debut studio album and Ocean soon went on hiatus after this.
Frank Ocean began an unofficial four year hiatus during which he was plagued by rumours of marriage and many album release dates. He was also said to have been completing a degree in medicine but it was later revealed that this was part of a shoot for 2012 hit “Thinking about you”. During these four years he made appearances on Beyoncé’s self-titled album, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, and James Blake’s The Colour in Anything. Fans on social media continued to speculate that an album was imminent regardless of Oceans hints that Channel Orange would be his last album.
Boys Don’t Cry
In 2013 Ocean hinted at the fact that he may be working on a new project in a number of radio interviews as well as at the Time 100 Gala in the same year. Similarly, at a concert in Munich, Germany he released a handful of copies of a previously unreleased single. In the following year he indicated that fans should expect a sophomore album with a photo of himself in studio added to Instagram. Boys Don’t Cry was informally announced in 2016 to be Ocean’s follow up album with an accompanying publication. Initially set for release in 2016 it disappointed fans when it was announced that the release date would be pushed back. Fans continue to speculate if Boys Don’t Cry will be released at all.
Endless, an 18 track visual album made available for streaming on Apple Music, is not to be confused with Ocean’s latest studio album. The visual album was released in August of 2016 and was directed by Fransisco Sorian. The visual album sparked a flurry of social media activity. Endless has been the first major project that fans have seen of Ocean since Channel Orange.
Blond, the four years in the making follow up studio album accompanied by pop up magazine stores was a surprise release for some. However, this release came shortly after Endless was released and sparked just as much social media excitement among fans as its predecessors. The album tackles race-based police brutality, elements of philosophy, and downhearted tales of loss and seems purer in quality in comparison to Ocean’s previous releases. The instrumentals are streamlined and simple, complimented by Ocean’s commanding vocals. Ocean credits a wide variety of artists as contributors to this album including Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Pharell and the late David Bowie.
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