Written by Layla Halabian • August 22, 2016
Frank Ocean and his highly anticipated follow-up to 2012's Channel Orange has spawned many a meme, tweet, and regurgitated think-piece over the past four years. Every morsel of information on the LP—tentatively titled Boys Don't Cry up until last Friday—was rabidly documented, turning the already massive hype into something of a Frank Ocean a fever dream. In case you missed it, the wait for Orange's much-delayed follow-up finally ended on August 18 in a style befitting Ocean's enigmatic nature. First he dropped a visual album titled Endless, then came his Boys Don't Cry magazine, and ultimately the long-awaited album by the name of Blond. Ocean posted a note to his Tumblr following the wave of releases, thanking his fans for their patience while poking fun at himself: "I had the time of my life making all of this. Thank you all. Especially those of you who never let me forget I had to finish. Which is basically every one of y'all." That being said, the wounds accumulated from four years without Frank run deep, so here's a timeline of everything that went down, just to add a little salt.
July 2, 2016:
Ocean's official website was updated with a photo of an old-school library card with various due dates, the final stamp reading "July 2016" with the specific date scribbled out. It was the first time the website has been update in nearly a year and rumors began to fly that the album would be released sometime during the month. As legend goes, July ended with no new music and or updates from the hermitic singer, and the fans' desperation grew wilder.
August 1, 2016:
There was a glimmer of hope when Ocean's website was updated with a mysterious Apple Music-hosted live stream that featured little more than a boombox and workbenches. Later that day, The New York Times reported that Boys Don't Cry would be dropping four days later on August 5 as a Apple Music exclusive. Come August 6, the promise fell through and the world pacified itself with more memes and repeated listenings of Channel Orange.
August 18, 2016:
Ocean mysteriously appeared on his own website, where he began assembling wooden boxes to the tune of some previously unheard soundtrack. Later that evening, the first release of the weekend arrived with Endless, a 45-minute visual album that took place in the same warehouse as that aforementioned live stream. The Apple Music exclusive featured contributions from Arca, James Blake, and Alex G, and came with the promise of even more new music. Pitchfork reported that an Apple Music representative hinted to "keep an eye out this weekend for more from Frank," and for once during this long saga, they delivered.
August 20, 2016:
Ocean released an electric video for a new single titled, "Nikes." The Tyrone Lebon-directed clip featured glittering nude shots—at one point glitter literally flies out of a woman's spread legs—a rapping chihuahua, as well as a tribute to A$AP Yams, Pimp C, and Trayvon Martin. "R.I.P. Trayvon/That n*gga looked just like me," reflects Ocean between seductive shots of youthful partying.
Because good things really do happen to those who wait, Blond hit Apple Music at 10:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, August 20. The album fittingly opened with "Nikes" and featured 17 new tracks, including collaborations with the late David Bowie, Kanye West, Beyoncé, André 3000, and many more.
The track-by-track collaboration list has yet to be unveiled, but Ocean's album accompanying 'zine Boys Don't Cry features a laundry list of A-listers who helped bring the long-awaited album to fruition, including Tyler, The Creator, Kanye, Beyonce, Rick Rubin, Kendrick Lamar, and Pharrell Williams.
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