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B.o.B - Strange Clouds Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 6
Musicianship 6
Lyrics 6
Production 6
Creativity 6
Lasting Value 6
Reviewer Tilt 6
Final Verdict: 60%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.45
Musicianship 7.2
Lyrics 7.45
Production 7.7
Creativity 6.9
Lasting Value 7.1
Reviewer Tilt 7.7
Average: 74%
Inside AP.net

B.o.B - Strange Clouds

Reviewed by: Joe DeAndrea (05/07/12)
B.o.B - Strange Clouds
Record Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: May 1st, 2012

Bobby Ray Simmons isn't worried about proving to anyone who he is anymore. In fact, over the past couple of years, Bobby Ray, better known as B.o.B, has become one of the country's biggest pop superstars. With songs in his arsenal that included Bruno Mars and Eminem, his success was pretty much inevitable. The debut album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010), went on to sell over 500,000 copies with its singles exceeding over 8 million in sales.

However, what really cemented him into the limelight was the quadruple-platinum smash, "Airplanes," featuring Paramore's Hayley Williams. The song was unavoidable, and even when its buzz died down, B.o.B's didn't. That fall, he dropped the critically acclaimed mixtape, No Genre, as well as another the following year, E.P.I.C.; the mixtapes showed a promising direction for B.o.B's follow-up to Adventures. The result, Strange Clouds, will easily rake in the awards like its predecessor, but hardly for the reasons that made B.o.B worth being excited about to begin with.

Album opener "Bombs Away" starts off brilliantly with a Morgan Freeman intro, but that's all the track has going for it as it fails to capitalize on its beginning with any sort of similar excitement. Even the record's first single and title song strays away from what B.o.B normally offers with its awkward dubstep elements, a boring chorus, and a forced Lil Wayne cameo.

Strange Clouds continues to take more risks with Nicki Minaj bringing her batshit insanity in the worst ways to the frantic upbeat "Out of My Mind," but Taylor Swift comes in with the knockout on the mid-tempo ballad "Both of Us" -- a track that will easily crush the success of "Airplanes" on the charts. Additionally, other flaws exist within the record vocally as they don't feel nearly as explosive as they have in the past. The one constant that B.o.B has managed to maintain on not only this album, but throughout his entire career, is the production. Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and Ryan Tedder are among the plethora of producers that lay down their touch on select numbers, and it's a nice distraction when the songs don't live up to its highest substance. The only problem is ... that occurs way too often.

The flow of Strange Clouds tends to vary between songs that are helping make the album great ("So Good," "Arena," "So Hard to Breathe"), and then the ones that keep pushing it down the route of a sophomore slump ("Ray Bands," "Just a Sign," "Play for Keeps"). Right when there's about to be a trend of some consistency, it ends up falling short. The charm within 2010's Adventures took place in the fact that whatever B.o.B was doing on it -- whether it was a ballad, club banger, or just blending a bunch of genres in one -- it seemed to be done effortlessly. With Strange Clouds, the vision just seems blurry, and hopefully he can recapture the magic on a future record.


6/10

Additional InformationTrack Listing
01) Bombs Away (feat. Morgan Freeman)
02) Ray Bands
03) So Hard to Breathe
04) Both of Us (feat. Taylor Swift)
05) Strange Clouds (feat. Lil Wayne)
06) So Good
07) Play for Keeps
08) Arena (feat. Chris Brown & T.I.)
09) Out of My Mind (feat. Nicki Minaj)
10) Never Let You Go (feat. Ryan Tedder)
11) Chandelier (feat. Lauriana Mae)
12) Circles
13) Just a Sign (feat. Playboy Tre)
14) Castles (feat. Trey Songz)
15) Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)
Produced by: B.o.B, Jamieson Jones, Sean Garrett, Dr. Luke, Cirkut, Ryan Tedder, Valentino Khan, Nard & B, Billboard, Noel Zancanella, Frequency, Super Water Symphony, Mynority, Kutta, Kool Kojak

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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 39
09:54 PM on 05/07/12
#2
heyzombiehitler
has feelings
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i want all the music i listen to from now on to have a morgan freeman cameo. good review though, pretty much spot on.
08:56 AM on 05/08/12
#3
dtomczak
always hungry.
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Good review, the album has some up's and a few too many down's. But I'm surprised you didn't like "Bombs Away". Definitely felt that it was one of the stronger tracks overall. And for an album rather than a mixtape, the songs are radio-friendly, but don't detract from BOB's typical sound. I could see many of these songs becoming radio hits that aren't as generic or annoying as what's on the radio right now.
11:12 AM on 05/08/12
#4
snu
I like to watch the NBA
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B.o.B. is a case of strong mixtape rapper making poor albums...this and his debut just don't measure up to his mixtape stuff. Wiz Khalifa kind of did the same thing with his album vs. his mixtape material.
07:24 PM on 05/08/12
#5
Steeeve Perry
Pushin' th' little daisies
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B.o.B. is a case of strong mixtape rapper making poor albums...this and his debut just don't measure up to his mixtape stuff. Wiz Khalifa kind of did the same thing with his album vs. his mixtape material.
A agree with every word you said, and I love watching the NBA.
07:51 PM on 05/08/12
#6
tell that mick
@mickrouse
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I agree with the review for the most part, although I actually really enjoy "Out of My Mind." Still believe that B.o.B can put out a fantastic album that really pushes the limits. His mixtapes are great and tracks like "The Kids," "Magic," "Bet I," "Fame," and, of course, "Airplanes" were great offerings.
09:43 PM on 05/08/12
#7
Psib
When I get home I'll get high alone
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Can lil wayne please stay the fuck out of every fucking artists songs!? I used to like him before he just phoned in shitty verses on other rappers songs and made bajillions from it
05:46 AM on 05/09/12
#8
fna4
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I understood the love for B.O.B., he always seemed more like an embodiment of what labels think will sell or crossover than an actual artist.
07:56 AM on 05/09/12
#9
dubey
trillest
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I agree with the review for the most part, although I actually really enjoy "Out of My Mind." Still believe that B.o.B can put out a fantastic album that really pushes the limits. His mixtapes are great and tracks like "The Kids," "Magic," "Bet I," "Fame," and, of course, "Airplanes" were great offerings.
I liked Strange Clouds too

Rest of the album is forgettable
08:40 AM on 05/09/12
Cody Nelson
Your mouth to God's south.
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Three words: highly doubt it.
09:47 AM on 05/09/12
Dubui_209
This is endless and I know.
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Agree with the whole review, but you didn't even mention what I thought were the best two songs on the album. "Castles" and "Where Are You" are great. Completely right about the lack of consistency though.
10:32 AM on 05/09/12
BLeClair12
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I'm inclined to agree with most of this. I became a fan of B.o.B. after seeing him live at a festival during the touring cycle for the first record. I love that album, so I was pretty excited to hear this one. I've only listened through it twice at this point, but I agree that it feels pretty disjointed and almost phoned in at times.

On the subject of his live performance, though, man, he's fantastic.
11:57 AM on 05/09/12
Prae Omnia
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i want all the music i listen to from now on to have a morgan freeman cameo. good review though, pretty much spot on.

This. Morgan Freeman rap album NOW.
12:55 PM on 05/09/12
PermanentTourists
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I totally want to read Joe DeAndrea's thoughts on a rap album.
01:47 PM on 05/09/12
IPixedYouu
She's got a boyfriend anyway.
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Good review. Always liked B.o.B, haven't listened to the whole album yet but I assume he did a pretty good job on it. Really like "So Good" and "Strange Clouds". I'll check out the rest of the songs.
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