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Frank Ocean: a look to ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and reliving the past


After four long years of storied rumors, empty promises, misguided dates and grueling anticipation, the wait for Frank Ocean’s sophomore album is over.

It is expected that R&B artist Frank Ocean will release his new project, “Boys Don’t Cry,” on Friday, Aug. 5, through an exclusive deal with Apple Music.

Or so everyone biting their nails and scratching their heads about the album hopes.

That being said, it would not come as a shock if Ocean puts the release off beyond Friday, given the different instances in which he has postponed this record. Nonetheless, “Boys Don’t Cry” is one of, if not the most, anticipated albums of 2016. It seems like forever since his Ocean’s first illustrious album, “Channel Orange,” which was released in 2012. His prime work fetched six nominations for Grammy Awards and won the best urban contemporary album.

The new album has been an enigma throughout its recording. It felt like Ocean vanished from the earth after his “Channel Orange” tour, with spurts of random appearances on other artist’s’ work or through his posts on Tumblr. Recently, he teased fans with a 30-second bit on Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo,” where Ocean appeared on the outro of the track “Wolves.” Also, Ocean was featured on the guest writers’ list for James Blake’s new album, “The Colour in Anything.” Blake claimed to have heard some of Ocean’s new album and noted that it is Ocean’s best work yet. However, none of this seemed to give any foreshadowing or hint to his personal next work, thus leaving fans in an abyss of not knowing what to expect or when to expect it.

While there might not be a distinct prediction of what Ocean will deliver musically, the expectation of quality is immense. Although guest appearances by other artists may be unknown, what is known, however, is the fact that this album has been in the works for four years. That points to one theory about the album: a well-orchestrated project with much planning involved.

Revisiting ‘Channel Orange’ and before

There was a Frank Ocean before everyone knew Frank Ocean. He ruptured beats on his first mixtape, “Nostalgia, Ultra,” and played around with different harmonies with his rap crew affiliate at the time, Odd Future. After his adolescent period with the crew, featuring Tyler, the Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt, Ocean signed with Def Jam Records and orchestrated “Channel Orange” in the summer of 2012. What fans forget is how much of an impact the album really had.

The initial attention received for “Channel Orange” was sparked by a letter that Ocean posted on his Tumblr, which admitted he had loved a man. It is hard to say whether or not Ocean directly influenced the LGBTQ fight for equality at the time, but he did have the courage to speak up when the subject was uncommon. Single-handedly, he attracted listeners with the news.

Singles such as “Thinkin’ Bout You” and “Pyramids” dropped before the album and began creating waves. His performance on “Saturday Night Live” with John Mayer proved his artistic integrity. All of which led up to his freshman project. A project that became a masterpiece.

And, it was so simple. The album’s summer eloquence did not seem forced, nor dark, nor happy. It was, and still is, listenable with any mood, time or place. Songs such as “Forest Gump,” “Super Rich Kids” and “Pyramids” are lyrical gems, while tracks such as “Pilot Jones” and “Bad Religion” capture the essence of what makes Frank Ocean’s music endless. The album liberates the feeling of summer time. The album is nostalgia. But most of all, the album is timeless and beautiful.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Frank Ocean: a look to ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and reliving the past