When you've already blown deadline several times and your fans are just about fed up with waiting for four-years-in-the-making new music, how do you nonetheless manage to turn your album release in an attention grabbing internet surprise?

Easily, if you're Frank Ocean.  Instead of releasing just one album, you put out two. This past weekend, rather than coming with the set that was expected to be called Boys Don't Cry - the previously announced title of the highly anticipated follow-up to 2012's acclaimed Channel Orange -  the digital soul singer outdid himself and released two new collections, neither of which bear that name. (Though a curated oversized art magazine which includes a Kanye West poem about McDonald's was given out for free in four cities over the weekend does.)

First, on Friday morning, the Louisiana-reared songwriter born Christopher Breaux came with Endless (Apple Music ** 1/2), a "visual album" accompanied by a black-and-white film in which he methodically builds a spiral staircase to the stars.

That one, let loose as a streaming Apple Music exclusive, featured collaborations with Strawberry Mansion hip-hop R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan and, more surprisingly, Havertown indie rock songwriting savant Alex G. It can only be experienced as one often meandering 45 minute long track, although it was issued with individual credits for each of its 19 songs, and is apparently an edited version of a longer 140 hour piece made in collaboration with artist Tom Sachs.

Then on Saturday, Ocean put out Blonde (Apple Music *** 1/2) , an 17 track album that - while it still bears the Ocean trademark of existing as a mood piece in which the way the pieces of a composition come together are left visible - is a more coherent work, and can only be purchased as an entire album.

It also features bigger name guest stars Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and Andre 3000 of OutKast.  (And yes, there's also song credit handed out to The Beatles.) Though in a measure of his confidence, Ocean - who takes the opportunity on the closing "Futura Free" to remind the world "I ain't on your schedule" - does not feel compelled to showcase the luminaries in ways that makes their star qualities stand out.

Instead, Beyonce's contributes to the gorgeous Pharrell Williams-produced remembrance of a past love "Pink & White," with a wordless vocal that you would have no way of knowing is her. Similarly, Lamar doesn't even rap on the minimalist musing "Skyline To," instead just blurting out odd words here and there. Still, the song succeeds, well timed as it is to capture the wistfulness of fleeting late August days: "Summer's not as long as it used to be / Every day counts like crazy - smoky, hazy."

Which is not to say that guest stars do not shine brightly on Blonde, which was issued in an alternative version called Blond on the CD that accompanied the Boys Don't Cry magazine. (Blond on Blonde, get it?) "Solo (Reprise)" consists entirely of an Andre 3000 verse that find the rapid-fire rhythmically-exacting rapper in top form, throwing shade on rappers who don't write their own verses.

And the real breakout star of the album is the woman who the listener presumes to be Ocean's mother, heard on "Be Yourself." She leaves a voice mail urging her son to trust his instincts and to refrain from alcohol, cocaine and marijuana. "When people become weed-heads they become sluggish, lazy, stupid and unconcerned," she says, repeating herself for emphasis.

Naturally, he's not heeding the advice on the following "Solo," in which his expressive tenor is on vivid display as he escapes into a haze of smoke:  "There's hell on earth and the city's on fire / Inhale, in hell there's heaven.")

As for the Beatles, the melody of "Here, There & Everywhere" briefly turns up in the spare "White Ferrari," perhaps the most hauntingly pretty song on an album full of them.

Ocean is so good at making music that is contemplative, it can be easy to miss the sly sense of humor.  In "Solo" he sings, "Hand me a towel, I'm dirty dancing by myself."

Although not a rapper, Ocean came to prominence as part of the often profane hip-hop collective Odd Future, and he made headlines in 2012, when he wrote about falling in love with a man when he was 19. On Blonde's "Good Guy,"  Ocean cheekily raises a glass to a club where he had a welcome revelation about a subsequent, ill fated relationship: "Here's to the gay bar you took me to / It's when I realized you talk too much, more than I do."

This weekend Ocean also put out "Nikes," a flashy NSFW video for a song from Blonde that features an Auto-Tuned Ocean. He pokes  fun at a woman who's "looking for a ring like Carmelo" in reference to New York Knicks' championship-less NBA star  Carmelo Anthony and gets serious paying tribute to slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin: "RIP, Trayvon, that n----- look just like me."

The digital age has freed artists to be creative in how they interact with audiences, sometimes unleashing varied media immediately upon creation.  Ocean takes the opposite approach, believing in letting the artistic process play out even if it results in a product that doesn't seem properly "finished." Waiting for him to follow-up Channel Orange has been a patience trying time for his fans, but finally, rewards worthy of spending extensive time with are at hand.

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