Strange Clouds sold 74,000 copies in its first week. Each person who bought it also bought a box of Kleenex. This isn't the Bobby Ray from The Adventures of... (he admits same on the metatune "Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)" -- a futile attempt at the B.Rabbit gimmick, the one where you detoxify a potential diss by owning up to it first, except this version of B.o.B. ends up carping at his fans for noting his misguided departure from Awesome Bob). This is the soundtrack of a kitten with a mood disorder.
What Strange Clouds is
A collection of overwrought emo-rap weepers. Rhymes that would make excellent yearbook notations ("You can be whatever you want"). Cypher hip-pop, country-rap, and stadium bounce, all poured over big drums and elaborate keys.
Cringe-worthy rhymes on Strange Clouds (aside from the aforementioned)
- "I'll have you livin' life like you should. You'll say you never had it so good."
- "They can take these clothes off my back (clothes). They can take my money, don't care about that (that)."
- "Are we all digitized?"
Genre-bending experiments on 'Strange Clouds' I never want to hear again
B.o.B. lyrics that would make a perfect Joel Osteen sermon
- "You can be whatever you want."
- "What's the one thing in this life that you live for?"
- "You're hoping that a miracle happens."
- If you're in the fast lane or the slow one -- and you might break down on the shoulder -- you just gotta know who to call for the tow-truck."
Naked honesty is always an ingredient for songwriting success, and B.o.B. is at his most compelling when he lifts the veil to reveal his very real pain.Where Strange Clouds fails:
He's at his worst when he tries to appeal to everyone. For every Mixtape Bob special ("Strange Clouds"), there's two or three sad sack misfires ("Castles," "Never Let You Go," "Just a Sign," etc).Approximate number of questionable collaborations on Strange Clouds:
Too many to list. Whether it's Lauriana Mae doing her best Hayley Williams impression on the treacly "Chandeliers" or Taylor Swift trilling about not being strong enough to lift "bosofus" on "Both of Us," the collaborations come off as calculated moves to appeal to everyone at the same time. That's not an issue if the songs actually work. They don't.Approximate number of listenable songs on Strange Clouds:
Three: "Bombs Away," "Strange Clouds," and "Ray Bands." I will not debate this.