Total Article : 200
About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
Lost in the haze that was the build-up to Ocean’s second full-length LP came his ‘visual album’, Endless. Due to the fact that this was an Apple Music exclusive release, so close to the ‘main’ album, Blonde, and has subsequently been overshadowed by it due to it being vacant on Spotify, most people have not heard the music, let alone seen the video alongside. It must be stressed that this is not a review on the video accompanying the music; I won’t pretend to see men in designer clothes working with wood as an artistic statement, and I doubt you’ll want to either. The music running along this ‘visual’ side of the album is well worth talking about, and, I believe, too good to allow it to be overcast by its twin.
Device Control (Intro)
A 23 second opener setting the scene with spacey instrumentals and a robotic voice narrating “with this Apple appliance you can capture live video […] blurring the line”. What the ‘line’ actually is will be revealed in the song’s entirety, the final track of the album. This does initiate the theme of hyper-reality that runs through not only this album, but also Blonde (see the song ‘Facebook Story’, for example).
At Your Best (You Are Love)
This is a stunning and airy lullaby for the first solid track. Ocean’s vocals, which use his falsetto throughout, are reverbed in the song’s entirety, coupled with faint piano chord progressions, a lo-fi string ostinato that is reminiscent of James Blake’s ‘I Need a Forest Fire’. Only around the 3:20 mark does Frank tone down his register and the instrumentation become more sparse. A lovely ‘opener’, and one that sets the precedent, and shows that this is not merely a side-project album.
Here we see some clever production work, with the differing dynamics of the three versions of Ocean’s, two panned to the left and right and one panned in the centre. The overlapping of these vocals, coupled with the driving piano chords and the eerie lyrics (“something’s happening to me!”), create a disorientating and claustrophobic feel to the song that comes off brilliantly. We then get an appearance of what sounds like Sampha to close the song out. This precedes, however, a further disconcerting overlapping of vocals repeating the same line, “How come the ecstasy depresses me so?” – deep.
This is just a continuation of the line just mentioned (“How come the ecstasy depresses me so?”) over what sounds like distorted and reversed horn notes.
This is the most abrupt song so far on the track listing, and this is primarily because it’s the first song with drums. It still maintains a spacey feel, however, with Ocean using a spoken-word-cum-rap flow over the top of electric guitar sliding notes. The latter half of the song opens up with synths galore, and Frank’s delivery swaying towards his singing tone.
Ambience 001: In a Certain Way
This is a very short interlude of a sample “Because you’re beautiful and you’re young”.
Image Credits: CNET