Is 2020 the year Frank Ocean, my husband, returns from war?

Frank is headlining Coachella... this can only mean one thing. It's album time.

by Douglas Greenwood
03 January 2020, 11:56am

Outtake from Frank Ocean's i-D story. Image via Instagram.

This article originally appeared on i-D

It’s been a minute since Frank Ocean has delivered a fully formed body of work. Since his most recent albums, Endless and Blonde, dropped in quick succession in August 2016, the elusive performer has spent much of his time out of the celebrity spotlight. He drip feeds fans new songs every so often via his Apple Music radio show or his queer disco PrEP in New York City.

The thing with Frank is that even when slivers of new music are dropped, you’re never quite certain when a new full-length record is coming. He’s prone to dropping them, Beyoncé style, out of nowhere. We’ve had an inkling something new might be coming soon though, since he signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell back in December 2019 -- the first time he’s been aligned with a major label since leaving Def Jam just before Blonde dropped.

What we do know is that he only tends to hit the stage when he’s got a new project in the pipeline, so today’s confirmation that Frank will headline Coachella in 2020 is a surefire sign that something is coming.

On 12 and 19 April over two consecutive weekends, Frank will make his return to live music -- his first in nearly three years. It was back in Summer 2017 that he executed an enigmatic performance for just eight European and US festivals (one of which, Primavera, he cancelled a week ahead of time). On stage, he was flanked by screens displaying VHS playback of the show and provided singalong karaoke lyrics for the crowds; ones that he, ironically, probably couldn’t hear beneath the soundproof headphones he wore at every date. Much to the dismay of his die-hard fans, he never toured that record.

What all of this means is that, sometime between now and 12 April, we might finally have the long-awaited successor to the album that topped multiple ‘end of decade’ lists last year. Blonde 2.0? Something completely left-field? Who knows. All we can tell you is that the desert never seemed so appealing. He’s in good company too: elsewhere on the Coachella 2020 line-up, you'll find Lana Del Rey, Travis Scott, FKA Twigs, Lil Uzi Vert, Charli XCX, Yaeji, Conan Gray and Carly Rae Jepsen.

Frank Ocean