After years of signature silence despite fans' pleading, Frank Ocean is now putting himself front and center, repeatedly and without being prompted, with his new Beats 1 radio show, Blonded. Not that we're complaining.
Following its premiere, Episode 2 brought us new track "Chanel" while Episode 3 gave fans the Jay Z- and Tyler, the Creator-assisted "Biking." And late Saturday (April 23) going into early Sunday, during an unannounced Episode 4 of the series, the singer debuted a new song titled "Lens" (and its remix featuring Travis Scott).
On the original, over infrequent and fluttery keyboard flourishes, Ocean's vocals sound urgent and emotionally-charged, despite being almost entirely manipulated by Auto-Tune:
"Despite our history / Somewhere in your nights, you're stuck when you think of me / Despite the life I lead / All this life in me / Spirits watch me, pants down / Can't be 'barrassed of it / I feel their smiles on me."
Percussive moments enter mid-way through before the track expands into more enveloping instrumentation. Listen below via Apple Music, TIDAL, or Spotify.
Later in the show, Ocean shared "Lens V2." The remix, now extended to over six minutes, features a longer outro and verse from Scott, whose vocals are also distorted:
"Cameras on me, I need tints / Smiling but inside, I’m feeling bent / Come direct please, I can't take no hints."
A Twitter user also noted that the single's artwork gives nod to artist Kerry James Marshall's 1980 painting "A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self."
frank ocean's "Lens" cover / kerry james marshall's A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former pic.twitter.com/8iMBnWNpRZ— Miss Rina Baby (@rinank_) April 23, 2017
Still operating under the element of surprise, late Sunday (April 24) going into early Monday, Ocean returned to Blonded for another unannounced installment, Episode 5, during which he debuted an updated take on his Endless track "Slide On You," this version now featuring Young Thug.