Frank Ocean's new visual album, Endless, is an Apple Music exclusive, but its songs seem to love all smartphone manufacturers equally. The last track featured on the 45-minute video, called "Device Control," makes explicit reference to Apple, Sony, and Samsung smartphones, a robotic male voice promising that you can "livestream your life in 4K video" using the manufacturers' devices.
"With this Apple appliance, you can capture live video, still motion pictures shot at high frequency," the voice sings, sounding like a metal Christoph Waltz reading out advertising copy over a Talking Heads track. According to Endless' credits, the person behind the voice is Wolfgang Tillmans, who promises that the Apple device lets you "blur the border between still and motion picture." But Tillmans also presents other options. Sony's phones can also blur that border, he says, and have the benefit of ultra high-def video. "With this Sony telephone, 4K video is in your palm," he sings.
"This Samsung telephone — we don't call it telephone"
Apple and Sony get namechecks, but Samsung is the only manufacturer to have named devices featured in the track. "The new Samsung Galaxy allows you to live stream your life," he sings, doing Samsung's PR for the company. "Livestream your life," he adds again, suggesting listeners can once again "blur the border between still and motion picture." This preoccupation with live-streaming makes sense for Ocean, who's spent the last month broadcasting black-and-white woodworking sessions in a nondescript warehouse, but Apple might not be pleased to have its major rivals referenced in one of its biggest releases of the year.