Social media aggregates interactions between loved ones so that you get industrialized communication rather than personal connection. No one really notices if a particular person goes missing because they’re just one interchangeable node in a network.
I remember months ago, talking to a group of friends at dinner about a blank canvas, and how every morning when you wake up, you can be whoever you want. Today doesn’t have to carry the weight of yesterday, and when you treat each day as a blank canvas, it changes everything about your world.
By the time you read this I’ll be 31. I don’t feel 31. I still feel, in certain ways, like a kid. Maybe it’s my creativity. Maybe it’s because I still do what I did back then (basketball, write, record, computers, video games). I haven’t quite grown up yet, and I hope I never will. I’m frozen in time, as the same person from many years ago, just better at the things I’m passionate about, and with less hair and more bills.
I remember a year ago, leading up to 30, how stressed I was. I was leaving my twenties, and that bothered me. Ironically, that year turned out to be one of my favorite years ever. So this time, I’m not stressed at all. I understand that the year doesn’t matter: they’re all just blank canvases. Who will I be tomorrow? Who will I be next month? Who will I be a year from now? That person is decided upon each day, the second I open my eyes—and at 31, I appreciate those canvases more than ever.
Creating our documentary, Minimalism, was simple, but not easy. A few years back we jumped in our tour bus (an old Toyota Corolla) and spoke with people around the country about how simple living had changed their lives.
Now, with Making Minimalism, we’re deconstructing how we made the film from the very beginning. You’ll get a look at never-before-seen footage as we detail all of our big wins, failures, breakthroughs, and discoveries.
There’s a piano playing. It controls the song, and it captures the emotions. There’s urgency here, and that’s not always easy putting into words. The piano plays for 20 seconds, and then it repeats again, but this time it shares the moment with my voice:
Music is spinning inside my soul. Too many sins, I’m out of control. How do I hold on and let you go at the same time. How do I cope? How do I care for you, and not be there for you? Because it’s not fair to you. How do I untie the rope and let you go? I’m sorry, I gotta go. Music is spinning inside my soul. You see me silent, on the inside, I’m about to explode.
This is a search for that fire that drives creativity, and a search for the stability that kept me moving forward. This is a deep dive into the past, humbling myself, and flushing out the demons that are holding me back.
What makes this song important for me is not just the vulnerability I show in it, but the way I respond to a creative drought that I’ve struggled with for many months: I respond by releasing a 8 minute song, possibly the longest one of I’ve ever made. Creating this song felt like a “finally” moment, as if the valve was finally opened for the words to start pouring out. The theme lyrics I wrote in January were, “I’m working on my return”, and this song is evident of just that.
You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
With five kids, and four grandkids, you’ve brought so many special people into this world. Your strength, love, and selflessness will never be taken for granted. We love and appreciate you more than you know.
Winning a championship is the ultimate goal for every NBA franchise, but making that the sole benchmark for success is setting up the other 29 teams for heartbreak every year. Only 10 franchises have won an NBA title since 1984. The odds are that your favorite team isn’t going to win a championship. There has to be a middle ground. Life is too short to live any other way.
It’s hard to argue this point with fans who always bounce around to the hottest team in the league. Those kind of fans don’t understand the degree of difficulty it takes to win a ring. For them, it’s as easy as cheering for the better team.
Frank Ocean released two albums last year, and they were only hours apart from each other. Because the second that came out was the main album (Blonde), the one that came first (Endless) continues to get overlooked. Endless was a visual album, an hour-long black and white video of him building a staircase, in an all white room, while the album Endless played.
This video started live-streaming weeks before, with no music playing, as Ocean built something live. You didn’t know what was being built, but you heard the saws and the hammer at work.
Endless, it turns out, was an event — just not the event. The Apple Music video ended after 45 minutes, and was quickly tagged a “visual album,” a pernicious term that rose to great heights with Beyoncé’s Lemonade and has only sunk since. Frank, it seemed, had programmed his construction-working clip and made a short film about process while fans took in new songs. Their titles rolled in the closing credits. Screenshots came pouring in. Theories flew across the internet. A gentle sigh set in. That’s it? many of us wondered. What happened here?
What makes Endless special is that it served a bigger purpose, as it freed Ocean from his contract obligation, as everyone thought this was the big album, not Blonde. Sean wrote later in his article:
Frank Ocean didn’t just trick fans with Endless. He tricked his label, Def Jam, which was stuck with the visual album as the final installment in his recording contract. The bigger and more commodified Blonde, on the other hand, was released solely by Boys Don’t Cry, Ocean’s personal imprint.
There are many reasons to love Endless, especially as a musical statement — it’s the rolling tide that carries in Blonde’s crashing wave. It takes its time, it ebbs and releases — it’s inconsistent and unpredictable. It is, in many ways, music in 2016. It’s also an artistic statement that is unrivaled — a power move leveraging technology and corporate structures against one another to engender personal freedom. That may seem haughty, but it is true. Frank Ocean is free because of Endless. That he has once again returned to his elusive state should be no surprise. He’s bound by nothing but himself now.
Here’s a Dropbox link to the album Endless for you to listen to.