Friday, May 11, 2012

B.o.B – Strange Clouds (2012) – Review

Review: Atlanta MC B.o.B is one of the most unique artists in hip hop, and one of the most talented. He can rap with the best, sings very well, produces many of his records, and plays many of the instruments on the record too. B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was a great debut album, showcasing his talent and new sound (merging hip hop with pop and pop rock). His sophomore effort, Strange Clouds is seemingly a triumph and disappointment at the same time. On one hand, it features B.o.B on the top of his game musically, as this album does not sound like anything else right now, but on the other hand it is plagued with a number of very weak throwaway tracks (easily could have dropped five songs) and a slew of features (Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown – it is too bad people continue to work with this guy – T.I., Nicki Minaj, and Trey Songz) that in some cases overshadow B.o.B. The album is also very poppy, and it could be said that this album is placating to the masses of generic pop fans over being a hip hop record. While it is a good track, his collaboration with Taylor Swift, produced by pop super producer Dr. Luke, is practically a paint-by-numbers attempt at a platinum song. Swift’s hook is right in the wheelhouse of popular music, so much so that essentially the rest of the track in meaningless (economically, and musically for many as well). Dr. Luke provides the most interesting and infectious beats on the album (and many of the best tracks). He infuses a dub-step sound into B.o.B’s collaboration with Lil Wayne Strange Clouds to great effect. B.o.B’s flow on his first album sometimes sounded akin to Andre 3000’s delivery; that is not the case on this album, rather he sounds a bit like Tech N9ne on a few tracks (which is not a bad thing, it just stood out as I listened to the album). Overall, Strange Clouds is a good album, and will please B.o.B fans (in most cases, though it is his most poppy album to date by far). 2/5

Editor’s Essential Tracks:
1)      Bombs Away – Featuring Morgan Freeman, produced by B.o.B
2)      Out of My Mind – Featuring Nicki Minaj, produced by Dr. Luke and Billboard
3)      Both of Us – Featuring Taylor Swift, produced by Dr. Luke and Cirkut

Available on CD and Digital Download

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