B.o.B. - Strange Clouds

Production: Alex da Kid, Bei Maejor, B.o.B., Dr. Luke, Frequency, Mynority, Rico Love, Ryan Tedder,

Lead Single: Strange Clouds

Avg Rating: 43211   4.1 ( 17 total votes )

     

PREVIEW BUY READ REVIEW

"The first time you have sex is way more exciting than the second time. Not that the second time isn't exciting, it's just ... the initial excitement of finally having that first album…” Interesting analogy B.o.B., and as long as you brought it up, sure, let’s go for it. Much like that magical first time you have sex, when B.o.B. was making his first album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, there was a lot of pressure on his lean shoulders. After all, you only get your first time once. On the other hand, if things …

Fans can also check out B.o.B's previous albums: B.o.B. - Underground Luxury | B.o.B - F**k Em We Ball | B.o.B - No Genre


DJBooth Album Review


"The first time you have sex is way more exciting than the second time. Not that the second time isn't exciting, it's just ... the initial excitement of finally having that first album…”

Interesting analogy B.o.B., and as long as you brought it up, sure, let’s go for it. Much like that magical first time you have sex, when B.o.B. was making his first album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, there was a lot of pressure on his lean shoulders. After all, you only get your first time once. On the other hand, if things hadn’t gone well, he could always fall back on that time-honored “it was my first time, cut me some slack” excuse. As fate would have it through, Bobby Ray proved to be a natural and success came quick (pause). The second time, however, is actually a much more complicated matter. Sure, the rush of that first thrust…into the marketplace was more thrilling, but on the sophomore effort there are some larger expectations. You’ve still got a long way to go before you’re waking up the neighbors, but you’ve been there before. And in music the second time has to be better than the first time, because unlike sex, if you’re not pleasing the populace on your second go around, there might not be a third time.

And the reason the sophomore slump exists is that, again just like sex, that first initial rush has faded for the people as well. Can B.o.B. make it? Can he establish a real career for himself? Those questions made The Adventures of Bobby Ray a more exciting – yes, a sexier – release. I think it’s safe to say that on his second album, Strange Clouds, that thrill is gone. B.o.B. is very much a known quantity now, and so for Strange Clouds to be a success it can only rely on itself. There’s the music and nothing; good thing then that the music’s damn good.

One good thing about having a hugely popular first album is that for your second album pretty much anyone will pick up the phone, even the best-selling rapper alive. And so we get Lil Wayne on the title track Strange Clouds, a release that announced Bobby wasn’t hiding from his new found fame and success. Strange Clouds doesn’t hesitate to let the world know that Bobby’s come a long way from the humble beginnings of Hi! My Name is B.o.B. In fact, this is an album that is very aware that it’s playing to a wide audience, resulting in both Ray Bands, a club-ready track that not even B.o.B.’s distinctive flow can rescue from the weight of mediocrity, and Arena, a track obviously meant to be played live at huge shows that manages to meet its lofty goals. Bobby is now a rich man and it’d be ridiculous for his music to pretend otherwise, but even though they’re largely enjoyable, Strange Clouds’ boasting tracks are the album’s least interesting and least compelling.

Thankfully B.o.B. is a complicated man, and he’s also talented enough to have the album address those complexities without sounding disjointed. Where Are You (B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray) is an obvious response to the paragraph above, taking a page out of the T.I. vs. TIP playbook and examining the difficulties of keeping it real in the face of the extreme unreality that is fame. It’s a concept echoed on the heavily rock-influenced So Hard to Breath, and in some ways the excellent Just a Sign, both of which are excellent examples of B.o.B.’s ability to give fans something deeper to dig into. The small-minded think that only shallow music sells, but the truth is that giving people some real nourishment like B.o.B. does on Strange Clouds keeps them coming back for more, and more, and more.

On Adventures there was an over simplification to divide the project into “rap” and “non-rap” tracks, and that’s doubly true on Strange Clouds. B.o.B. is constantly intertwining hip-hop percussion with piano lines, rock guitar with pop melodies, until the distinctions between them are essentially meaningless. Instead, it makes the most sense to divide Strange Clouds by intent. Tracks like Ray Bands are intended to make you feel larger than life, tracks like Where Are You are intended to keep B.o.B. as real a person in listener’s minds, and then there’s a third category: just feel good music. The same energy that propelled Nothin On You still pervades Strange Clouds, starting with that hits' closest cousin, So Good, continuing with mega-crossover collaboration Both Of Us featuring Taylor Swift and wrapping up nicely with Never Let You Go. You can mean mug all you want, but if you’re still capable of smiling, at least in the privacy of your own home, Strange Clouds might just drag a smile out of you.

So yes, Strange Clouds isn’t perhaps as thrilling as Adventures, mostly because the thrill of the unknown is gone, but B.o.B.’s second album is superior in almost every respect. Not that there was really any doubt before, but Bobby Ray’s officially in the music game for the long run. The man’s no one-night-stand.
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

Listen to More: B.o.B     Written by Nathan S.

Featured Songs From This Album


B.o.B ft. Playboy Tre - Just a Sign Artwork

B.o.B ft. Playboy Tre - Just a Sign

I’m sorry I have to be the one to tell you, but its officially winter. Gone (for most of the country) are the days of outside activities, bathing suits and picnics. Despite the long, cold season ahead, ATL hitmaker B.o.B is...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
B.o.B ft. Chris Brown & T.I. - Arena Artwork

B.o.B ft. Chris Brown & T.I. - Arena

B.o.B hasn’t always been comfortable at the top—in fact, his music depicts him struggling with the demands of fame and success on a pretty much constant basis—but fans shouldn’t get it twisted; the ATL...Read More

Average Rating: 21021
B.o.B ft. Taylor Swift - Both of Us Artwork

B.o.B ft. Taylor Swift - Both of Us

With genre promiscuity becoming more and more the norm, I’m having trouble even thinking of an over-the-top example of an unlikely collaboration to say wouldn’t shock me. How about… a hologram of 2Pac...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
B.o.B - Ray Bands Artwork

B.o.B - Ray Bands

It seems like only yesterday B.o.B. dropped off his latest official single, a jam which found him struggling to stay afloat as he navigated the troubled waters of fame and fortune. Wait, that was just f**king yesterday....Read More

Average Rating: 32101
B.o.B - Play For Keeps Artwork

B.o.B - Play For Keeps

As if having two number one albums wasn’t proof enough that B.o.B. takes this music thing pretty seriously, the new wave ATLien makes his intentions to stay in the game for a long, long time with new video single Play for...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
B.o.B - So Hard To Breathe Artwork

B.o.B - So Hard To Breathe

Fame is complicated—so complicated that, as we saw on B.o.B‘s last feature, it has the power to split you into multiple, warring personalities. Coming on the heels of schizoid hit Where Are You, new video single So...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
B.o.B - Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray) Artwork

B.o.B - Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)

Multiple personalities are a great way for an artist to stand out from the pack (or they were, until everyone started having them) but, as Fight Club has taught us, things can get ugly fast when your alter egoes turn against...Read More

Average Rating: 43210
B.o.B - So Good Artwork

B.o.B - So Good

Update: Click “Listen Now” above to watch B.o.B’s “So Good” video. Considering B.o.B made his breakthrough with the female-oriented Nothing on You, he must be planning on including a few quality...Read More

Average Rating: 32101
B.o.B ft. T.I. & Young Jeezy - Strange Clouds (Remix) Artwork

B.o.B ft. T.I. & Young Jeezy - Strange Clouds (Remix)

Saying that B.o.B. and Lil Wayne are the only Southern rappers who enjoy smoking Strange Clouds is like saying Snoop Dogg and Game are the only west coast rappers who enjoy driving lowriders. So it shouldn’t be a surprise...Read More

Average Rating: 32121
B.o.B ft. André 3000 - Play the Guitar Artwork

B.o.B ft. André 3000 - Play the Guitar

B.o.B has unleashed a post-Christmas treat for his fans in the form of brand new single Play The Guitar, an André 3000-assisted and Salaam Remi produced affair.  Bobby Ray’s sophomore album, Strange Clouds, is...Read More

Average Rating: 43211
 

Label:
Rebel Rock/Grand Hustle/Atlantic

First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Haterz Everywhere We Go (Remix)" (2007)

Total DJ Booth Features:
116 Songs / 5 Albums

B.o.B

Member Reviews and Ratings






Flame

TOP 20 MUSIC CHARTS


Discover the best new songs, videos, and albums added to the Booth.