B.o.B described his new album, due this year or next, as “a happy medium between the mixtape work that made his name and album B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, which made him a pop name. He wasn’t talking about new single “Strange Clouds” specifically but might as well have. Listen below:
Dr. Luke produced “Strange Clouds,” which explains why the verses sound like “E.T.” with sunken bass and sparser sound. Sonically, they’re the best thing on the track by far; the chorus churns the same filtered, panned depths as any of about twelve tracks in the past year. B.o.B’s contributions are the same: livelier on the verses than he’s been since the mixtape days (certainly more than any Bobby Ray single), flat on the chorus. “All we do is light it up all night / all you see is strange clouds” will no doubt add the title to the smokers’ lexicon within a week, but the affect doesn’t need to be so cloudy.
Then there’s Lil Wayne. He appears for a verse on par with any verse this year, Tha Carter IV or otherwise; his laugh (lengthy, in the background) might be the best part of it. The hashtags aren’t great, but they’re no worse than B.o.B’s pop-culture drops, going cliché with Inception and passé with Nancy Kerrigan (pop culture zenith: 1994.) Let’s reiterate, though: Wayne’s laugh in the background on the chorus makes the track. Highs should sound like highs.