Frank Ocean releases visual album 'Endless' as medium takes off

Musician Ocean has released a visual album on Apple Music. The term 'visual album' entered more music fans' vocabulary after Beyoncé released such works as a self-titled album and this year's 'Lemonade.'

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Frank Ocean arrives at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in 2013.

A visual album by Frank Ocean, "Endless," has arrived, possibly serving as an introduction to Mr. Ocean’s upcoming already-announced music release.

The 45-minute video was posted on Apple Music, and features collaborations from musicians such as singer Jazmine Sullivan and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, and more than a dozen songs, including "Wither" and "Mine."

The release of "Endless" comes as fans await his previously announced album and likely become increasingly familiar with visual albums, thanks to genre frontrunners like Beyoncé. 

Ocean released his debut studio album, “Channel Orange,” in 2012 and the work was praised by critics. “Orange” was nominated for album of the year at the Grammy Awards, among other prize nominations.

The concept of the visual album likely came to the attention of more music fans after Beyoncé released a visual album for her work “Lemonade” earlier this year, with HBO serving as the home for the hour-long program. Beyoncé had also released a visual album when her self-titled album was released in 2013. 

The concept seems to be evolving, as artists continue to experiment with the form and concept of the music video. 

Kat Sommers of BBC America believes that the visual album genre – a concept Ms. Sommers defines as a clip with at least two tracks and a continuous story, created within a year of the album it was accompanying – includes projects like the 1964 Beatles film “A Hard Day’s Night” and the 1984 Prince movie “Purple Rain.”

“Beyoncé christened the genre 'visual album' with 2013’s self-titled effort,” Sommers writes. Visual albums are "a new and developing genre that seeks to combine a music and visuals with a storyline; ‘Lemonade’ might not be the best album or the best visualization or even the best story, but it surely sets a new standard in pop storytelling by combining all three," she comments. 

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