Endless (Frank Ocean album)

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Endless
Frankoceanendlessart.png
Video by Frank Ocean
Released August 19, 2016
Recorded 2013–16
Studio
Genre
Length 45:52
Label
Director Frank Ocean
Producer
Frank Ocean chronology
Channel Orange
(2012)
Endless
(2016)
Blonde
(2016)

Endless is a video album by American singer Frank Ocean. A visual album, it was released exclusively through Apple Music on August 19, 2016. It was his last release with his record label Def Jam Recordings to fulfill his recording contract.[4] It was followed by the August 20 release of Ocean's third studio album, Blonde. The album was later remastered and released on CD and vinyl on April 10, 2018, almost two years later.

Background[edit]

On February 21, 2013, Ocean confirmed that he had started work on his second studio album, which he confirmed would be another concept album. He revealed that he was working with Tyler, The Creator, Pharrell Williams, and Danger Mouse on the record.[5] He later stated that he was being influenced by The Beach Boys and The Beatles. He stated he was interested in collaborating with Tame Impala and King Krule and that he would record part of the album in Bora Bora.[6]

In April 2014, Ocean stated that his second album was nearly finished. In June 2014, Billboard reported that the singer was working with a string of artists including Happy Perez, Charlie Gambetta and Kevin Ristro (whom he worked with on Nostalgia, Ultra), as well as Hit-Boy, Rodney Jerkins and Danger Mouse.[7][8] On November 29, 2014, Ocean released a snippet of a new song supposedly from his upcoming follow-up to channel ORANGE called "Memrise" on his official Tumblr page. The Guardian described the song as: "a song which affirms that despite reportedly changing labels and management, he has maintained both his experimentation and sense of melancholy in the intervening years".[9] On April 6, 2015, Ocean announced that his follow-up to channel ORANGE would be released in July, as well as a publication, although no further details were released. The album was ultimately not released in July, with no explanation given for its delay. The publication was rumored to be called Boys Don't Cry, and the album was slated to feature the aforementioned "Memrise".[10][10][11][12]

Release and promotion[edit]

On July 2, 2016, he hinted at a possible second album with an image on his website pointing to a July release date. The image shows a library card labeled Boys Don't Cry with numerous stamps, implying various due dates. The dates begin with July 2, 2015 and conclude with July 2016 and November 13, 2016. Frank's brother, Ryan Breaux, further suggested this release with an Instagram caption of the same library card photo reading "BOYS DON'T CRY #JULY2016".[13] On August 1, 2016, a live video hosted by Apple Music showing an empty hall was launched on the website boysdontcry.co. The website also featured a new "boysdontcry" graphic. The video marked the first update on the website since a "date due" post from July.[14]

On August 1, 2016, a video appeared that showed Frank Ocean woodworking and sporadically playing instrumentals on loop.[15] That same day, many news outlets reported that August 5, 2016, could be the release date for Boys Don't Cry.[16][17] The video was revealed to be promotion for Endless, a 45-minute-long visual album that began streaming on Apple Music on August 19, 2016.[18] It was later confirmed that Endless is a different project than Ocean's second studio album. The assumed title Boys Don't Cry had been replaced with a new title, which led to the release of Blonde. Endless was his last project with Def Jam Recordings to fulfill his recording contract with them.[4][19]

On November 27, 2017, as part of Cyber Monday, Frank Ocean started selling physical copies of Endless on his website along with new merchandise. The new, remastered version of the album is available on vinyl, CD/DVD and VHS.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic74/100[21]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[22]
The A.V. ClubC+[23]
Consequence of SoundB-[24]
Drowned in Sound9/10[25]
The Guardian4/5 stars[26]
Mojo4/5 stars[27]
Now3/5[28]
Pitchfork7.5/10[29]
Q4/5 stars[30]
Uncut8/10[31]

Endless received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 74, based on 13 reviews.[21]

In The Guardian, Tim Jonze said Ocean mixed the pop with the avant-garde on Endless, calling it "a rich, varied and – at times – challenging musical feast", however noting that "much of this album floats by hazily and with no clear direction".[26] Q magazine published a joint review of Endless and Blonde which said "these records might not eclipse Channel Orange, but they have their own mercurial gleam, mapping the spaces between people, reaching for a hazy intimacy that almost feels real."[30] Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork wrote that "as a piece of filmed entertainment, Endless is painfully dull", however praised the "much more exciting" music, comparing it to a mixtape, and stating that it is "an intriguing peek into [Ocean's] process, and it contains some of the rawest vocal takes he’s ever put out".[29] For Consequence of Sound, Nina Corcoran wrote that the video "wobbles between its highs and lows". She was ambivalent to the music's abstract nature, noting that "is filled with beauty, but it feels like a dream where you don’t remember much, even if you take a pen to paper as soon as you wake".[24] In a mixed review for AllMusic, Andy Kellman wrote that the tracks "melt into one another", concluding that "it's a smartly ordered patchwork of mostly secondary material".[22]

Spin magazine's Brian Josephs was more critical, believing it did not work as an album. "As a whole, Endless feels formless," Josephs wrote, "like pretty, curlicue-flaunting cursive with no adherence to notebook margins."[32] Dan Caffrey of The A.V. Club stated that the album's concept "would be slightly fascinating", if the length didn't result in "the video becom[ing] a chore to sit through". He praised the album's opening tracks, however criticised the music overall as "undercooked ambience, half-finished verses, and robotic descriptions of Apple products".[23]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks produced by Frank Ocean, Vegyn, Troy Noka and Michael Uzowuru, except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Device Control" (performed by Wolfgang Tillmans)Wolfgang Tillmans0:56
2."(At Your Best) You Are Love"5:21
3."Alabama"Frank Ocean1:25
4."Mine" (produced by Arca)0:32
5."U-N-I-T-Y" (co-produced by Stwo and Frank Dukes)2:54
6."Ambience 001: A Certain Way" 0:11
7."Comme des Garçons"Ocean0:59
8."Xenons"
  • Ocean
  • Joe Thornalley
0:31
9."Ambience 002: Honey Baby" 0:09
10."Wither"Ocean2:34
11."Hublots" (produced by 88-Keys; includes hidden track "Walk Away", written by Ocean)1:48
12."In Here Somewhere"
  • Ocean
  • Troy Noka
  • Thornalley
1:45
13."Slide on Me"Ocean3:07
14."Sideways"Ocean1:54
15."Florida"Ocean1:15
16."Impietas / Deathwish (ASR)"
  • Ocean
  • Noka
  • Thornalley
1:56
17."Rushes"Ocean3:26
18."Rushes To"
2:12
19."Higgs"Ocean3:39
20."Mitsubishi Sony"
  • Ocean
  • Thornalley
2:26
21."Device Control" (reprise; performed by Tillmans)Tillmans7:04
Total length:45:52

Notes

  • "Device Control" and its reprise are not included in audio-only releases of the album, with "Mitsubishi Sony" extended to 2:51, leading to a total length of 38:17.
  • There are some discrepancies between various track listings of the album. Not all releases list the songs "Ambience 001: A Certain Way", "Xenons", "Ambience 002: Honey Baby", "Walk Away", "Impietas", "Mitsubishi Sony", and the reprise of "Device Control" in their track lists.
  • "U-N-I-T-Y" is stylized as "UNITY" in the liner notes of the vinyl release.
  • "Comme des Garçons" is incorrectly spelt "Commes des Garcons" in video releases.
  • "Mitsubishi Sony" is stylized as "Mitsu-Sony" in the VHS/DVD releases.

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Film[edit]

  • Frank Ocean – direction
  • Francis Soriano – direction of photography, editing
  • Thomas Mastorakos – production design
  • Wendi Morris – production
  • Rita Zebdi – wardrobe
  • Henri Helander – wardrobe assistance
  • Paper Mache Monkey – art department
  • TMG – set construction
  • Grant Lau – VFX
  • Brandon Chavez – coloring
  • Caleb Laven – sound mixing
  • Keith Ferreira – 1st AC
  • Taj Francois – assistant editing/DIT
  • Maarten Hofmeijer – sound design
  • Brent Kiser – sound design

Album[edit]

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, formats, and label
Region Date Format Label
Various August 19, 2016
November 27, 2017[a]
Boyfriend

Notes

  1. ^ VHS was shipped from February 10, 2018. CD/DVD and vinyl were shipped from April 9, 2018.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Earls, John. "Universal Music to ban streaming exclusives after Frank Ocean 'duped' them". New Musical Express. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Pulido, Izzy. "FRANK OCEAN BANGS OUT 'BLONDE,' 'ENDLESS,' AND 'NIKES' ALL IN ONE WEEKEND". Anyarena. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Jonze, Tim (August 25, 2016). "Frank Ocean: Blonde review – a baffling and brilliant five-star triumph". The Guardian. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "After Releasing Endless Through Def Jam, Frank Ocean Went Independent With Blonde". 23 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "Frank Ocean's Next Album Is On Its Way!". PerezHilton.com. 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  6. ^ "Frank Ocean 'Like 10, 11 Songs' Into New Album". Rolling Stone. February 20, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Memrise by Frank Ocean". dindindara. Archived from the original on 2014-12-05. 
  8. ^ Hampp, Andrew (September 15, 2014). "Frank Ocean Signs to New Management With Three Six Zero". Billboard. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Listen to Frank Ocean's new track Memrise". The Guardian. November 28, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Byford, Sam (April 7, 2015). "Frank Ocean's next album is coming in July". The Verge. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  11. ^ Beauchemin, Molly (April 6, 2015). "Frank Ocean Announces New Record". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  12. ^ "New Frank Ocean album due in July". The Guardian. April 7, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  13. ^ Ivie, Devon (July 2, 2016). "Frank Ocean Teases Boys Don't Cry July Release Date". Vulture.com. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  14. ^ Monroe, Jazz (August 1, 2016). "Frank Ocean Launches Mysterious Live Stream". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Frank Ocean". 
  16. ^ "Frank Ocean's Long-Awaited 'Boys Don't Cry' Is Due on Friday - NYTimes.com". 
  17. ^ "Frank Ocean to Release New Album 'Boys Don't Cry' This Week". 
  18. ^ "Frank Ocean Releases "Visual Album" Endless: Watch - Pitchfork Media". 
  19. ^ "Frank Ocean Unveils Contemplative 'Endless' Visual Album Stream". 
  20. ^ "Frank Ocean Selling Endless Vinyl, DVD, More in Cyber Monday Sale | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-11-28. 
  21. ^ a b "Endless Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Endless – Frank Ocean". AllMusic. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  23. ^ a b Caffrey, Dan (August 24, 2016). "Both of Frank Ocean's new albums are more singular than you think". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Corcoran, Nina (August 22, 2016). "Frank Ocean – Endless". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  25. ^ Hanratty, Dave. "Album Review: Frank Ocean". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  26. ^ a b Jonze, Tim (August 19, 2012). "Frank Ocean: Endless first-listen review – brilliantly confounding". The Guardian. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  27. ^ Cowan, Andy (August 24, 2016). "Mojo Album of The Week". Mojo. Retrieved October 1, 2016. 
  28. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (August 22, 2016). "Album of the week: Frank Ocean mulls over mortality with two albums". Now. Retrieved October 1, 2016. 
  29. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (August 24, 2016). "Frank Ocean: Blonde / Endless". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  30. ^ a b Anon. (November 2016). "Reviews". Q. p. 112. 
  31. ^ Anon. (November 2016). "Reviews". Uncut. p. 24. 
  32. ^ Unterberger, Andrew; Iandoli, Kathy; Pearce, Sheldon; Pagnani, Renato; Josephs, Brian (August 19, 2016). "Frank Ocean's 'Endless': SPIN's Impulsive Reviews". Spin. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  33. ^ Myles Tanzer (19 August 2016). "There's A Tiny Piece Of Queer History Hiding In Frank Ocean's Visual Album". The Fader. Retrieved 2 August 2017. 
  34. ^ "Frank Ocean lança álbum visual com sample da música 'Vapor Barato', de Gal Costa" (in Portuguese). HuffPost Brasil. August 19, 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.