ANNA HORAN really wants Frank Ocean to release his new album. But she is coping a lot better than most of his fans.
It’s four weeks since fans had their dreams crushed by radio silence. Back in April Ocean posted a photo to Tumblr promising a July 2015 release of the follow-up to 2011’s Channel Orange. But as the days crept by and fans refreshed Ocean’s boysdontcry.co website over and over with feverish anticipation, it became increasingly apparent that the album was not going to arrive as promised. For hardcore Frank fans, like myself, waiting out July was a painful experience, but some are taking it a lot worse than others.
Frank Ocean is a liar
Artists not dropping records as promised isn’t anything new (Hi Kanye!), but Frank Ocean is fast becoming the poster boy of broken promises. Most recently he pulled out of FYF Festival in California, which he was scheduled to headline alongside Morrissey and D’Angelo. The official word from promoters was that Ocean “decided on his own terms to cancel his appearance.” This isn’t the first time the singer has been a no show. In 2013, Ocean was forced to pull out of Splendour in the Grass due to problems with his vocal chords, and the year before that he cancelled an appearance at Future Music Festival. He was also thought to have tricked fans into believing he was going to perform at a James Blake gig in April, an appearance that never eventuated.
For some fans, this history of flakey Frank coupled with an album no-show is simply becoming too much to bare. In the dark days since July 31, they have been updating his wiki page, relentlessly posting on his FB, and making the #frankoceanisaliar hashtag trend on Twitter. As Spin wrote after his most cancellation, there is a “thin line between reclusiveness and irrelevancy.” And while there could be legitimate reasons for the delay, many fans are beginning to lose their patience in a somewhat unprecedented manner. Something that hasn’t been assisted by Ocean’s brother, who loves trolling Frank’s fanatical fanbase.
Look at this fucking asshole, having himself some breakfast acting like he don’t have an album to drop. C’mon frank pic.twitter.com/dMwXxjMY0g
— No Love In The Dark (@MichaelHardman_) July 29, 2015
Proof that a Frank Ocean album will arrive this year
For every Frank Ocean fan losing their mind amid all this silence, there’s another who passionately believes there must be a logical reason for the holdup, pinning their hopes on theories from obscure Reddit threads and peripheral sources. These fans are so dedicated to the Ocean cause they rival the Bey Hive in tenacity and enthusiasm. A subreddit dedicated to Frank Ocean points to the tiniest clues, keeping fans up to date. The latest includes a screenshot of a tweet from Ocean’s mum Katonya Breaux, who simply wrote “yes” when asked if the album would come out before the end of the year. A couple of tweets from actress/model Alycia Bellamy have also caught the fanbase’s attention. For those not in the Frank Hive, Bellamy appeared in the video for ‘Novacane’ and was at one time rumoured to be Ocean’s girlfriend. She wrote: “Already heard the entire new album and know every word. ” When asked in emoji if it was fire she responded earth, wind, fire in emoji, followed by “everything”.
@AlvinGospodinov 🌎💨🔥. Everything.
— ☁️LY$$I☁️ (@AlyciaBella) August 10, 2015
Those living for these sprigs of basically meaningless info have also latched on to more technical, yet still entirely circumstantial, facts. For example, some of Ocean’s tracks have been taken down from various platforms, in particular, geographical locations. In Australia, the Nostalgia/Ultra mixtape has disappeared from Spotify, while Channel Orange has also been removed from Ocean’s YouTube channel – only live clips and a couple of singles remain. Fans are wondering if this reshuffling among platforms could be linked to an imminent release through a platform such as Tidal or Google Play (where those albums remain).
Another element that has fans obsessing is the movement happening in the code for the boysdontcry.co site. The What We Know So Far subreddit has collated a bunch of testing that appears to have been happening since August 1 – from login pages to potential Shopify links and what one Reddit user describes as “what looked like a video testing page, with the title ‘Nikes’ on it.” ‘Nikes’ is a song rumoured to be on the album. At one point, there were even streams of source code put up as “evidence”. Theories as to why Ocean’s new album hasn’t landed yet include speculation that the singer is going to “do a Beyonce” and release a visual album, with these endless delays caused by editing and post-production. While others suggest Ocean is trying to orchestrate a worldwide publishing deal for an accompanying magazine.
In reality, nothing can be believed until the record hits shopping carts, but it’s a lot more fun theorising in a community than just sitting on your hands. You can at least put faith in his record label to push for a pre-September 30 release so the album can be considered for the 2016 Grammys. And in the meantime, maybe we all need to take a deep breath and follow his mum’s advice: