The eagerly anticipated record and a print project will be distributed exclusively through Apple Music.
Frank Ocean promised he'd deliver Boys Don't Cry — his sophomore album and follow-up to 2012's breakout Channel Orange — by July 2015. Well, it's now July 366. But finally, the record and an accompanying printed publication will be released this Friday.
The news arrives via The New York Times, which reported earlier today that the record will be released through an exclusive partnership with Apple Music. Boys Don't Cry is "expected to remain exclusive to Apple for only two weeks before becoming more widely available," the paper reports through a source familiar with the release plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
After years of silence and increasingly mysterious pseudo-updates, the record finally seems to be within reach. Though Ocean has used his Tumblr to write moving personal responses to the Paris terrorist attacks, Prince's death, and LGBTQ hate crimes in the wake of Orlando, he's stayed largely silent on the matter of his album (letting people like James Blake and producer Malay sort of speak for him). Last summer, The Fader got so desperate for answers one of its contributors somehow hacked the source code of Ocean's website only to find a few t-shirts, a pair of yellow Vans sneakers, and a place-holding image of penguins.
Ocean made light of this hysteria last month by uploading a library card covered with overdue date stamps to his website. This morning, that website began hosting a bizarre video initially believed to be a live stream. It was later reported that the video contained a piece by NYC-based artist Tom Sachs now presently on view at his Brooklyn Museum show Boombox Retrospective: 1999-2015. Sachs later confirmed his involvement with the project, saying that while it was the pair's first collaboration, he and Ocean have "other projects [they're] dicking around with" and "an ongoing creative dialogue."
Perhaps Sachs is involved with the "printed publication" Ocean plans to release with Boys Don't Cry. While the NYT doesn't detail its specifics, it's possible the printed work could be the zine of the same name Ocean teased back in April 2015. According to the report, the publication will be distributed at Apple stores, one of which just opened blocks away from our New York office. So if you don't mind, we've got a tent to pitch.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Todd Cole
Photography assistance Alex Aristei
Frank wears top French Connection. Chain model's own.
[The Royalty Issue, No. 318, Spring 2012]