3 Reasons The Frank Ocean Album Drop Has Gone Too Far

Frank_Ocean_SNL_YouTubeIt was finally made official this week that Frank Ocean’s sophomore album Boys Don’t Cry will be released on Friday. And I’m not appreciating the specifications of its release.

I hesitated to write this as fans have been believing that Frank Ocean’s album was just around the corner for years. Seriously, their faith in an artist with one album to his name has mirrored how many believe in Jesus Christ’s return. But since The New York Times is standing by its source, I think I’m safe in finally commenting.

I wasn’t a huge fan of channel ORANGE myself. I thought it was well produced, but when you really look closely, Ocean’s vocal delivery was elementary. There’s no sugar-coating or side stepping that. Still, standouts like “Sweet Life” and “Super Rich Kids” remain memorable because the lyrics are written like a book. And I’m a sucker for well-crafted writing.

But on the eve of his sophomore album’s arrival, I find myself not the least bit excited. Here’s why:

1. We have no idea what to expect

Let’s get this clear right now: Surprise albums are not for every artist. It takes immense star power and a rabid fan base for that to work, and Frank Ocean is no Beyoncé. He’s not even a Rihanna, and we saw how quickly the masses forgot about her last album. So his decision to drop this album without even giving us a buzz single, snippet, or sample is ludicrous, if not maddening. How an I supposed to be excited for an artist with whom I have such little understanding?

2. It will only be available through Apple outlets for 2 weeks

I’m sure this is helping his bottom line, but I’m only now recovering from my penchant for enjoying music without paying for it. And now I have to give money to Apple, a company which I ethically stand opposed to? See, now Frank Ocean is just trolling me.

3. The bar is already impossibly high

channel ORANGE thrived off of hype. And Boys Don’t Cry is built off of that same foundation. With all of the anticipation that has built up since 2012, the world is looking for Ocean to deliver a mind-blowing collection of songs. It has been rumored that there will also be a video component of this release. If anything in this set is less than legendary, listeners will be let down. I imagine that this is what kept him from putting anything out for so long. I also believe this is why we have still not seen an album from Lauryn Hill. When your creative work transcends and is received as well as the first albums from Ocean and Hill were, the pressure to build from that position can be crushing.

I could be wrong. Boys Don’t Cry might end up being a groundbreaking work of art that changes the game. Maybe he himself has transcended, reaching new heights as a producer, writer, musician, singer, and artist. Maybe he’ll be the recipient of the most Grammy nominations and trophies at the next ceremony. Maybe Beyoncé herself will have to bow down to him as the new supreme ruler of the music industry. Or, as my gut is telling me, Boys Don’t Cry will be a darling of critics, musicophiles, and die-hard fans alike for a week or two, until they find their next project to worship.


Photo credit: YouTube

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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.