ONE OF THE world’s most enigmatic musicians — and one of its most acclaimed — is reportedly set to make his long-awaited comeback. Seven long years after he released Blonde to the jubilation of softboys and indie lovers everywhere, Frank Ocean is said to have a third album in the works.
Perhaps the only other fanbases who truly understand the bittersweet emotional rollercoaster of being an Ocean enthusiast are those who devote themselves to two more of this generation’s finest musical talents with the same delusional, desperate hope for new content. We’re talking about the Beyhive and the Navy, of course — the respective names for Beyoncé and Rihanna’s fans.
The parallels are fascinating, actually: Each of the three singer-songwriters had been on the down-low since they last released music in 2016, with Ocean’s Blonde, Rihanna’s ANTI, and Beyoncé’s Lemonade (critically acclaimed, the lot of them). But within the past year, each of the enigmatic artists have peeked their heads out at last. In July of 2022, Beyoncé dropped Renaissance, which she’s now touring worldwide. Rihanna made her much-hyped live comeback as the headliner of the 2023 Super Bowl in February (which became the most-watched halftime show performance of all time). And in April 2023, Ocean also made his live music comeback with a divisive headliner set at Coachella (after heated debate online, he cancelled the second weekend’s set).
So since Beyoncé’s new album has dropped, and rumours are swirling about new music from Rihanna — could Ocean join the club, bringing us more musical magic in the not-too-distant future? For everything we know so far about Frank Ocean’s third album, keep on reading.
Is Frank Ocean making a third album?
As far as we know, yes, Frank Ocean is making a third album — and it’s been a long time coming. There are a few separate pieces of evidence that point towards the album being in the works: In 2021, Hits Daily Double reported that Ocean was “shopping” a new album around, or in other words, hunting for the right record label through which to release new music. He’s previously stayed away from major music labels, having spoken of his distrust for them.
We also know that he’s definitely been in the studio. Spanish singer Rosalía revealed that she had spent time with him in a New York studio during an interview with iD, revealing the advice he gave her in her song “SAOKO”, where she sings “Frank me dice que abra el mundo como una nuez” (“Frank tells me to open the world like a nut”). Plus, in an episode of his radio show Blonded Radio, he alluded to having been on hallucinogens while “in the studio”.
And if all of that wasn’t enough evidence, at his Coachella headliner show this year, Ocean gave a fairly big hint in between songs. “I wanna talk about why we’re here because it’s not about the new album… not that there’s not a new album,” he told fans.
What is Frank Ocean’s new album about?
It’s too soon to say precisely what the album may be about. In that episode of Blonded Radio during which he hinted at new music, he had a conversation with a microdosing expert which was set to a backing track that he crafted specifically for the episode — a fittingly euphoric and electronic instrumental track. So perhaps the new record will be psychedelic-inspired, or at least influenced by it.
Further hints arrived in the form of merch Ocean sold a few months ago. A double-sided poster, when viewed side-by-side, tells the story of a “fictitious Recording Artist” (Ocean himself, we’d assume) arguing with a record label Chairman (played by Succession‘s Jeremy Strong, for some reason), before coming to the conclusion that he “has since changed his mind about the singles model, and is again interested in more durational bodies of work”. With this clue in mind, we can assume that the new Ocean album will be a longer-form project that steps away from radio-friendly singles.
What is the name of Frank Ocean’s next album?
Again, no official word here, but you’d best believe that the fans are doing what they do best, and hypothesising like crazy over on Reddit. But until we actually get some concrete info from Ocean himself, it unfortunately all remains pure theory.
Is Frank Ocean dropping a new album in 2023?
Ocean’s headliner appearance at Coachella has led many to believe that it was the beginning of a comeback for the elusive artist, and that it heralded the impending announcement of album three. Plus, in September 2022, Ocean cleared his Instagram page — which artists have often used to signify a new era or new album is on the way. But months have passed and Coachella has been and gone with no word on the matter — so you’ll have to stay tuned (and hopeful) to see if 2023 will be the year that Ocean gifts us new music.