It’s currently the 48th (49th, 50th, 51st, etc. – depending on when you are reading this) day of July, and Frank Ocean continues to cause the world internal and external grief due to the non-release of his sophomore album Boys Don’t Cry.
After his brother trolled the Internet by posting a link on Instagram to announce the release of the long-awaited project (which instead led the entire world to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, the famous “Rickroll” troll), Ocean got in on the heartbreaking fun, making a few uploads to the music streaming site Spotify late Saturday night.
As the world redownloaded Spotify after basking in the light of the gloriousness that is Apple Music, tweets of excitement over new music changed as the world realized what happened.
Instead of a new project, the “Sweet Life” crooner put out of his first two mixtapes, the well-received nostalgia,ULTRA. and the expansive Lonny Breaux. The former, released in 2011, put a pre-Channel Orange Ocean on the mainstream track for success, concreting his unique approach and R&B aesthetic, spearheading collaborations with heavy hitters like Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Kanye West.
Featuring two singles, “Novacane” and “Swim Good”, the critically acclaimed work was inspired by Ocean following his departure from his native New Orleans to Los Angeles after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. nostalgia was described as a “cult classic” by MTV, and was additionally nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards in 2012. Ocean shows appreciation for Coldplay and MGMT on the songs “Strawberry Swing” and “Electric Feel”, even facing controversy over the song “American Wedding” for a sampling of “Hotel California” by American rock band, the Eagles.
The project is available for download, and consists of 30 trackss that have become either songs for other artists or throwaway tracks. Lonny Breaux was spawned from a collection of music long before Frank was working with Yeezy and Jigga, singing your girl to sleep, co-writing Beyoncé’s “I Miss You”, or giving Brandy three songs.
With a title that nods towards the R&B singer’s given name, Lonny is more mainstream R&B than what we have heard from Ocean, quickly reminding listeners that he began his career as a ghostwriter (shoutout to Meek Mill).
Standout cuts include Midi Mafia-produced tracks like “Wise Man”, “Quickly” (which John Legend and Brandy ended up recording for Legend’s Evolver album), “Holly Baby”, “Bricks and Steel”, and “Denim”. Although this “official” release does not include fan favorites like “Acura Integurl” or “Surprise Ending”, it surely does attempt to satiate fans chomping at the bit to having something new from the New Orleans native after waiting so long.
Hopefully, with everything going on, Ocean is preparing some climactic release strategy for Boys Don’t Cry. If the album does not come soon, I can imagine that a lot of boys [and girls] will be shedding a few tears.
If you can bear it, listen to both albums on Spotify.