Album Review: BoB – Strange CloudsMay 04
A common critique of B.o.B’s entrance studio album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, is that studio heads compromised a singular character displayed in a rapper’s subterraneous brew tapes to damp a mainstream. The open upsurge that primarily garnered prominence for B.o.B (real name Bobby Ray Simmons) usually reared a conduct intermittently, giving proceed instead to well-designed cameos that were bearing into a record’s foreground. The manuscript was abundant with showy prolongation and predicated on being incomparable than life. The deception expected hurt longtime enthusiasts, yet executives were irreproachable 5 Grammy nominations later. The 2010 recover lighted B.o.B to stardom, yet his new album, Strange Clouds, lends an invitation into a lyricist’s plight. Simmons’ goals were twofold: put out an honest record and locate a center belligerent between The Adventures of Bobby Ray and a brew tapes.
“I was some-more honest on Strange Clouds,” B.o.B told Rap-Up.com. “I feel like I’m invariably honest in a impulse to moment, yet I’m constantly changing.” Although probity is where Strange Clouds shines, it also leads Simmons to informed tropes in a swat community, which, in turn, becomes burdensome rather afterwards inspiring. For example, B.o.B is disrespectful toward women, dismissing many as treasonable bullion diggers (“She looking for a sponsor/And we ain’t articulate corporate”) on a lane “Ray Bands”. He also spends a substantial volume of time deriding hostile peers both on a pretension lane and “Play for Keeps”. Equally unsurprising, Simmons is carrying problem entrance to terms with his success; in fact, he even reminisces about his frugal upbringing.
We know these issues are authentic, since we’ve listened a sentiments conveyed by other artists time and again (and again). Furthermore, frankness is benefaction from a opening of Strange Clouds, and consequently, as a record progresses and new topics are broached, B.o.B’s vehement proceed feels aspiring and refreshing, as against to seared and hackneyed. And as confounding as it is to grind by a platitudes of a cost of eminence, a boon does eventually come.
In “Both of Us”, Taylor Swift delivers an emasculating chorus, while Simmons quietly starts to curve divided from a script, addressing a rigors of a bland world. This lane transforms into an sincere try to brand with normalcy underneath a prism of his nascent fame, as Simmons raps, “Sincerely yours/From one of yours.”
Where Strange Clouds begins to take figure is on ”So Good”, a cheerful summer strain that will invade beaches around a universe from Jun until Sep – it’s B.o.B’s “California Gurls”. With a small assistance from his friends, Simmons reels off 5 uninterrupted marks that eventually give a manuscript legs. You can design a lighters in a atmosphere while Chris Brown belts out a carol on “Arena”. Nicki Minaj delivers crafty barbs, wordplay, and her signature musty operation during a unsound “Out of My Mind”, while Simmons spends dual interesting verses considering his mental instability. As meta as a lane is, it’s also his paper to Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (sans a antagonistic aura, of course).
“Never Let You Go” and “Chandelier” are candid marks bolstered by top-notch prolongation and cathartic choruses sung by Ryan Tedder of One Republic and Lauriana Mae. Simmons even contributes an Akonian carol on “Circles”, singing, “Circles by my head/there she goes again.” Unfortunately, a large movement is put to a remarkable hindrance during Trey Songz’s feathery entrance on “Castles”. The lane will positively harry many listeners. Its premise–about dreams entrance to delight and a fundamental privacy that arrives with fame–aligns with Simmons’ query for veracity, yet a construction creates his radio-friendly strain “Magic” off of Adventures sound like Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up”.
The crux of a manuscript comes in a closer, “Where Are You (B.o.B Vs. Bobby Ray)”. The strain gives discernment on vigour felt from fan expectations, as good as personal ruminations per a pitfalls of a game. Again, these are issues impending to few, yet this time around, B.o.B saves himself, shutting any hymn by rapping, “Just when we suspicion we would give adult on everything/I listened we play this melody,” as a balmy piano line ensues. The device speaks to his genuine passion for creation music. To Simmons, zero else–not a fame, rivalries, or women–supersedes his affinity towards his craft.
In a end, B.o.B only can’t assistance himself, and, during times, lyrically struggles to delimit probity from originality. As a producer, though, Simmons compensates for a multi-coloured cliches. The unnoticed agendas trenchant Strange Clouds are teenager hindrances to an differently equitable manuscript that has adequate extract to say poignant staying power.
Essential Tracks: “Out of My Mind”, “Chandelier”, and “Where Are You (B.o.B Vs. Bobby Ray)”