Monthly Archives: May 2012

John Mayer’s New Record ‘Born and Raised’

Over the last twelve years the world has seen John Mayer go from relatively unknown singer/song writer, to one of the biggest artists of our time. How has he done this? Well I have to think it has to do with his musicianship that was honed at one of the finest music institutions in America, Berklee College of Music. These ‘chops’ have lead Mr. Mayer to share the stage with many prominent musicians including; B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. It has also led him to various other projects including, The John Mayer Trio which was a blues trio featuring bassist Pino Paladino and drummer Steve Jordan.

Now in 2012 John Mayer is back with the new album, Born and Raised. Born and Raised is a collection of 12 tracks including the single, “Shadow Days”.  The album begins with the late 60’s/early 70’s vibe tune “Queen of California”. The track starts out with a finger picked section and a bass drum, which steadily builds till the verse interjects with Mayer’s vocals. On this track we also hear some beautiful slide work reminiscent of Duane Allman. I was quite impressed with the production on this track as all the pieces fit, and because it was mixed cleanly. Next up is a track called, “The Age of Worry” which is another track that starts off with a great deal of acoustic guitar, but it’s Mayer’s vocal performance that really drives the two and a half minute song. Next up is the single “Shadow Days” which is a great retrospect of one’s life, and knowing that things do get better. I have to say that I am very impressed with this track especially the arrangement which highlights what is either, a pedal steel guitar, or a Lap Steele. I also enjoy the track because of its multi-tracked acoustic guitar solo.

“Speak for Me” is the next track, to me it feels like something Mayer wasn’t sure of, due to what seems to be lyrics about not knowing what he wants to say. “Something Olivia” is another one of my favorite tracks off, Shadow Days due to the song and Mayer’s bluesy roots, especially when it comes to the guitar parts and the layered organ parts throughout. The sixth track on the album is actually the album’s title track, “Born and Raised”. This song is a good preview into the introspective mind set of Mayer and shows his great prowess. The track also features backup vocals from both David Crosby and Graham Nash.

Next up is the longest track on the album, “If I Ever Get Around to Living” which runs about five and a half minutes. This track features soft acoustic guitars, but also features a prominent bass part and strong yet slow beat. We also see Mayer’s blues phrasing throughout his short guitar passages that interject throughout the song. “Love is a Verb” follows and is a great tune that clicks into that classic soul feel without going to overboard. “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967” is the oddest track on the album due to the lyrical theme. In my opinion it would have a shot at being one of my favorite tracks if the lyrical content wasn’t so odd. The next track “Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey” puts the album back on track with its harmonica driven intro and soft guitars. The album concludes nicely with the “Born and Raised (Reprise)” which is a pure slice of Americana.

Overall I think Mayer’s softer side comes through tremendously on the record. I think it’s also a great collection of songs that add a new flavor to his catalogue.

-B. Harlow

 

Check out the Music Video for “Shadow Days” below:

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Slash Releases Second album ‘Apocalyptic Love’ Featuring his New Band, The Conspirators

Slash was the man with the top hat that saved the Music Scene in the 80’s with his signature Gibson Les Paul and Marshall combination. He and his band, Guns n’ Roses were at the top of the world, until Slash left the band to work on his various side projects. Not much was heard from Slash until 2004 when he started Velvet Revolver with members of; Stone Temple Pilots, Wasted Youth, and his previous band Guns n’ Roses.

Eventually Velvet Revolver became stagnant, and Slash put together his first solo album with various guest singers and musicians. He then assembled a band of touring musicians to perform his new material. This touring band, minus guitarist Bobby Schneck became his recording band, The Conspirators. This band features vocalist Myles Kennedy, bassist Todd Kerns, and drummer Brent Fitz. Together  they created what became Slash and The Conspirators new album, Apocalyptic Love.

Apocalyptic Love is a great album featuring 13 tracks, including the single, “You’re a Lie”. The album kicks off with the title track, “Apocalyptic Love” which features a great wah-wah drenched riff that sliters in and out of the song. “One Last Thrill” follows the title track, and is a souped-up blues number. I imagine it would be a great track to be driving to. Lyrically the song is very dark focusing on a reckless past, and hoping for the last rush before one dies. The track on the album is, “Standing in The Sun” which sounds a lot like Kennedy’s other band, Alter Bridge. To me the song doesn’t seem to match the intensity of the rest of the album until about the 1:20 mark when an awesome riff comes in and hits the listener. The guitar solo on the track is one of my favorites, and features Slash’s excellent melodic phrasing. The single, “You’re a Lie” follows and takes the album up a notch, and is by far my favorite track on the album. Slash’s guitar sounds excellent on the track, as do Kennedy’s vocals. Fitz’s drums also provide a steady backbeat. The next track that I found interesting was entitled, “Halo”. This track features a very interesting dissonant riff. Kennedy’s vocals come in for the verse which slows down, but then when the chorus comes in it speeds up again. The Song is odd, but it caught my attention. “Anastasia” is the eighth track on the album, and It has a beautiful classical sounding intro that gets rudely interrupted by a very classical sounding electric guitar arrangement, that leads into a bluesy metal riff. The only thing I don’t like about this track are the vocals which sound thin compared to the rest of Kennedy’s MVP performance. “Bad Rain” is the tenth track on the record, and is a great groove oriented track with very tight playing from the band especially the rhythm section who keep a steady beat going especially at the 2:23 mark when Slash plays a simple but tight solo. “Hard and Fast” is next up and is a great track that I think should have been placed alongside, “You’re a Lie” due to its overall intensity. I hope that “Hard and Fast” follows “You’re a Lie” as the second single, as it is just a pure rock and roll jam.

Overall I believe Apocalyptic Love is a great album featuring a bunch of great songs by even better musicians. I hope Slash keeps this band up because in my honest opinion this album is better than what Velvet Revolver yielded on their 2007 release, Libertad. 

-B. Harlow

Check Out the Music Video for “You’re a Lie” Below:

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aerosmith Return With New Track “Legendary Child”

Whether it is 2012 or 1973, Aerosmith will always be the band for me. This statement is something that I will honor till I die, because ever since I was a child Aerosmith have been my favorite band. Whether it be the nitty gritty of “Somebody” off of the band’s debut self-titled album from 1973, or the polished sounds of the 1998 Diane Warren penned hit, “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”. Aerosmith’s music speaks to me and to millions of others. This connection with fans made them the biggest American Rock Band, with their record sales surpassing 150 Million units sold.

As a new season of the hit show American Idol was about to launch, many Aerosmith fans were glad to hear the news that the band was tucked away in a Los Angeles studio working on a new album. Although nothing was heard from these sessions a few pictures surfaced. This made fans even more enthusiastic about the coming album.

Yesterday (May 23) fans were pleasantly surprised with a performance from Aerosmith. They performed their new song, “Legendary Child”. The crowd was on their feet as the band blasted their way through the new song on the American Idol Stage. Immediately after this we learned that Aerosmith would be releasing their 15th album Music From Another Dimension on August 28th via Columbia Records. Something the bands fans were glad to hear, as many thought this project would never see the light of day.

Yesterday we also got to listen to the new track, “Legendary Child”.  To me the song is the best thing the band has released since 1993’s Get a Grip. Ironically the song was written during sessions for that album, but it did not make the cut. After a reworking the song has been released, and my ears were overjoyed. The song starts off with a backwards guitar that goes into a riff that sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin’s “The Wanton Song”. Steven Tyler’s vocals follow, and the song is instantly kicked up a notch. Then the song takes an odd turn when we go to this atmospheric section. This is then interrupted rudely by Joe Perry and Brad Whitford’s monster riffage. Then another verse that is full of Steven Tyler’s usual witty lyrics kicks in.  This time the band chooses to forego the atmospheric pre-chorus section, and go straight into another chorus. This chorus is then followed by a short guitar break, and then a ripping Joe Perry solo. At the end of Perry’s solo back-masked guitars are moving in and out, and Tyler repetitively sings the songs title till the song comes to a conclusion.

Overall I believe that Aerosmith hit the mark, and created a great track with a fantastic groove. I was hoping for something a little more vintage, but I think I am satisfied with this for the time being! I hope that Music From Another Dimension provides more great music, as I will be a first day buyer.

-B. Harlow

Check Out the Stream of Aerosmith’s New Song “Legendary Child” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Childish Gambino: Accidentally Influencing Lives

I can honestly say that I did not listen to much rap or hip-hop at all for a long time until one of my buddies introduced me to actor/comedian/etc. Donald Glover’s rap music.  Under the moniker of “Childish Gambino,” Glover spits smooth rhymes over solid beats.

I was turned onto Childish right before his major label debut, CAMP, was released last November.  Preceding that, the star of NBC’s comedy, Community, had put out at least three other releases in the forms of mixtapes, EPs, and mp3 albums.  Before CAMP, he posted all of his music online for free, allowing for his devoted fans to freely spread the word about the Childish project.

Anyway, this very talented twenty-eight year old recently spilled his mind via his blog.  Under the Gun Review revealed his post in its entirety, which is very intriguing to read.  The headline of this article you are reading right now directly correlates to part of his blog post:

Childish Gambino started as an inside joke that grew way faster than I ever thought it could.
When people come up to me and are like “this got me through chemo” or “I came out to my parents” off of Childish, I almost feel guilty.
Shit started as a joke, fun between writing with family and friends.
But I kinda don’t have that scapegoat anymore…and I’m good with that. Word.

There you have it, folks.  Donald Glover indeed inadvertently affected people’s lives with something that began as a joke.  It is not very surprising, though, with the fact that many of his lyrics are very deep and sometimes pretty dark.  At the same time, though, his music relies heavily on wordplay, often reaching raunchy and relatively vulgar themes.  But, damn, he’s good.

In other news, I will be seeing him in Boston next month and could not be more excited.  I jumped on my tickets the first day they went on sale and my seats are the second row back from the stage.  It will be a great show.  Expect to find a review from myself on that concert here on Musically Diversified at some point after June 21st!

-T. Shaw

Check Out the Music Video for “Heart Beat” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Iceland’s Folk Export, Of Monsters and Men Release Debut Album ‘My Head is an Animal’

Of Monsters and Men is a six piece from the giant isolated island of Iceland. More specifically they come from Garður, a small town of 1,452 people. The band itself consists of singer/guitarist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, co-singer/guitarist Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson, guitarist Brynjar Leifsson, drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, piano/accordion player Árni Guðjónsson, and bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsso. Together they create an intriguing mix of pop and folk music.

The band itself formed very organically as lead singer Hilmarsdóttir was trying to start her act, Songbird. As the music gained complexity built she added Þórhallsson, and eventually the project evolved into Of Monsters and Men. The band got its first big break at Músiktilraunir, when they won a battle of the bands, and since then have been gaining exposure slowly but surely. In 2011 the band released the song “Little Talks”, and by summer the track hit number one in Iceland. This led to exposure throughout the U.S. and eventually their first album, My Head is an Animal was released in Iceland, and in early April it was released in the U.S.

My Head is an Animal is a carefully crafted album featuring twelve tracks, and running at a very reasonable, 56 minutes. The first track is entitled “Dirty Paws” and starts out with a very soft acoustic guitar, and dual vocals by Hilmarsdóttir and Þórhallsson. Eventually the full band kicks in at the chorus. This quiet, then loud dynamic is continued until the song then ends triumphantly and fades. This is when the next track, “King and Lionheart” starts. This song start off with a lightly strummed acoustic guitar, which then gets a beautiful vocal by Hilmarsdóttir laid over it. The band builds its momentum, and then launch into a chorus that sounds like Lissie mixed with Mumford and Sons. The next track that really caught my attention was entitled “Slow and Steady”. “Slow and Steady” is a beautiful composition featuring a well arranged accompaniment, especially the drums which are actually very musical. I was also vert impressed with the layering of guitar parts that are set perfectly back in the mix, and give it a very open and wide feel. The jovial track “Little Talks” was the next track that grabbed my interest. It starts with an upbeat horn line which is followed by a verse with just guitar that builds towards a very fulfilling chorus.  “Your Bones” is the ninth track on the album, and features a beautiful vocal performance by Þórhallsson, with only occasional vocal input from Hilmarsdóttir. “Yellow Light” is the final track on the album and it ends the collection in a very serene and peaceful manner.

Overall I believe that My Head is an Animal is a genius collection of tracks, and I hope to see more from this tremendous act in the future.

-B. Harlow

 

Check Out The music video for “Little Talks” below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With Knives’ Debut Their EP ‘Schadenfreude’

What happens when members of Fall Out Boy and Every Time I Die get in a room to jam? The answer might surprise you, but the end result is the killer EP from With Knives entitled Schadenfreude. The band which was originally a side project created by Newton and Trohman as both of these musicians are no longer with their previous bands, and their other band, The Damned Things (Which consists of members of Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Fall out Boy) is out of commission due to touring behind Anthrax’s new record Worship Music and Every Time I Die’s latest release Ex Lives.

 The EP is a collection of six tracks, and was recorded in Kansas City over a short time span. The EP starts out with the very creepy track “Dig a Hole” which is sure to raise the hairs on listeners backs. The second track is entitled “Pretentious Child” this to me is a straight up rocker that sounds like the product of putting Danzig and The White Stripes in a blender. “Between Our Veins” is the next track and it starts out with a very steady drum beat reminiscent of Charlie Watt’s consistent time keeping. It also is a straight rocker with heavy, grinding bass, and it contains very steady guitars that move in and out of the arrangement. “Mr. Groper” follows “Between Our Veins” and is a track that could find it’s self on something the damned things would do. The next to last track is entitled “You Can’t Stop Losing Me”, and is an odd song do to its dirge like tempo. The final track on the EP is by far my favorite, and is entitled “Black Box Remedy”. This track starts off with two guitars playing, and then the drums come in. Slowly it builds and builds to a relatively sludgy chorus which I enjoy. Then a guitar solo comes in towards the end of the song and it wraps up the track and EP perfectly.

Overall I have to say that I enjoyed this EP, but am wondering where this band will go in terms of creativity. Will they go more hardcore? Will they go more metal? Could they go more rock? No one knows, but we’ll just have to wait and see!

-B. Harlow

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

La Dispute Live At The Middle East 4/30/2012

Recently I found myself in the basement of the Middle East in Cambridge, MA. I was there with three other people taking in the sounds of four bands. All four bands were good but the real highlight of the night was headliner, La Dispute. Of all the bands that I’ve seen live, I’ve never seen a band that connects to their fans so much. The whole basement was in the band’s palm, mostly thanks to front man, Jordan Dreyer who portrayed his poetry in a voice like no other, but more on that later.
First up was the band Sainthood Reps who were touring behind their latest record Monoculture. They were great, but the audience reaction to them was odd. Most in the audience looked as though they were bored, even though the band was putting on a very high energy show. I was impressed with the band’s musicianship, and the incredible mix that the band achieved.
Next up was the South Carolina bred four piece, All Get Out. Now this band was good, and put on a great stage show. But the audience wasn’t very receptive to what the band was doing. This was unfortunate but, by the end of their set the audience’s reaction came around.
Next up was Balance and Composure. When they came on the audience showed their first sign of life. The band put on a killer show and played about 45 minutes. I was very impressed with this five pieces stage show considering the limited space at the Middle East, yet they managed to put on a great performance.

Next up were headliners, La Dispute. The Michigan based quintet put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. It started off with front-man, Jordan Dryer whom from the stage took the mic and gave an amazing speech about the importance of music, and the community that forms when listening to music. On the band’s Facebook page it is stated “La Dispute also carries a firm passion for the relevance of a live show, both for the bands involved and for the people in attendance, and will go to the grave believing that the environment created when strangers come together despite their differences to celebrate one important thing is invaluable and should not under any circumstances be taken for granted.” To me this signifies the experience that I had at this show as the people at the show created a community of acceptance based on a love of a common thing, music. As for the live performance, I have to say I was very impressed especially when they finished their set with the emotional “King Park”. The whole audience went crazy and sang along to the intense lyrics of the song. To me it capped off a great show, and a great night.

-B. Harlow

La Dispute:

Balance and Composure:

All Get Out:

Sainthood Reps:

All Photos by Christina Duhani for Heart Shock Photography and Musicallydiversified.com

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mastodon Covers “Spoonful Weighs a Ton”

Recently music fans across the country participated in Record Store Day, a day celebration of the eclectic nature of independent record retailers. This special day brought on many special releases including the limited edition split side single “Spoonful Weighs a Ton”. On one side you had the original Flaming Lips version (Recorded in 1999), and on the other side you had Mastodon’s cover. I have to say even though both tracks were great, Mastodon did an amazing cover that was on par, or better than the original.

The track starts off with a piano much like the original. Then the verse comes in and is sung by Mastodon drummer, Brann Dailor. The track then goes into a heavier chorus that is accentuated by the bands riff power, which was not seen in the original. When the second verse comes in this is where I think the Mastodon version excels due to the smoothness in Dailor’s voice. A heavier section comes in, and then the song exits.

Some might say that this version is too close to the original, but I disagree. I think Mastodon added their own mojo to the track that made it just different enough. Make Sure to check out both, and check with your local record store to see if they still have a copy of this split.

-B. Harlow

 

Check Out Both Versions Below:

The Flaming Lips (1999):

 

Mastodon (2012):

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bill Ward to NOT Participate in Black Sabbath Reunion

Today we learned that longtime Black Sabbath Drummer will not participate in upcoming reunion shows. This is very sad considering he is one of the original members. In my opinion, without Bill on drums there’s no Black Sabbath.

Read bills full statement Below:

“Dear Sabbath Fans and Fellow Musicians,

I sincerely regret to inform you that after a final effort to participate in the upcoming Sabbath shows a failure to agree has continued. At this time I have to inform you that I won’t be playing with Black Sabbath at the Birmingham gig dated May 19th, 2012, nor will I be playing at Download on June 10th, 2012. Further, I will not be playing atLollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

It is with a very sad heart that I bring you this news. I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band, and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this. This statement is even more painstaking to write, as I was particularly excited to play alongside Tony Iommi after the recent treatments he underwent. I wanted that to become a reality.

To express my thoughts about you, the Sabbath fans, I’m going to speak to you all through an experience my brother James had recently. My brother Jimmy lives in the U.K. When speaking with him a couple of days ago, he told me that an acquaintance had stopped him on the street and confronted him, “is your brother playing Birmingham? What’s going on? I waited in line with my son and paid x amount for the concert tickets.”

The man’s son is a young drummer. He’s going to see Sabbath, and he wants to seeBill Ward play drums. Upon hearing this news, I felt horrible. I couldn’t help feeling some resentment towards the failure to reach an agreement, the failure to remember where we came from, the failure to be as brothers, as we once were. To be clear, I’m not blaming the other guys or finding any faults with them. I would think it can’t be easy for them either, but this situation is just really sad. It’s sad that it’s come to this. “This” will surely leave a mark and be unwelcome to the memory. Hopefully “this” will heal and pass in time.

My heart sank when Jimmy told me about this young boy. I know this boy is going to be disappointed, and I don’t know how to amend it, other than to put my arms around the boy and tell him I love him. Sabbath fans have a voice and a face, to me you’re human, you have families and despair. You have ferocity and emotions and graciousness, and at this moment as far as I’m concerned you are also that young boy in England. I don’t know how to amend my part in these failings other than to put my arms around you and say I love you and let you know I’m very, very sorry.
Throughout this process, which began over a year ago, I have had to stand up for myself time and time again. I have had to stand up for myself and in doing so realize my actions indirectly, although unintentionally, are upsetting and hurting a lot of you. I know in my heart I couldn’t have done these concerts by agreeing the terms suggested. I made a solemn vow after the last European and Ozzfest concerts that I would never again enter into what was, in my opinion, a totally unsatisfactory contract. I have to stand for something, and as painful as it is, I’m doing it.

Earlier in April 2012, I’d been asked to participate “minimally” in the Download festival. I believe I’d been offered no more than three songs to play while another drummer presumably played the rest of the show with Black Sabbath. I was not willing to participate in that offer. I was not prepared to watch another drummer play a Sabbath set, while I was to play only three songs.

I found out about the Birmingham gig on Monday, April 30 through the Internet ad. I was taken aback somewhat by the date, and the fact it was Birmingham. Knowing the “signable” contract negotiations were at best in shreds, I was upset by the idea that the band was going to play Birmingham and play it assumedly without me.

I had no prior knowledge of the date and location, and I felt totally excluded. We contacted the representative for Black Sabbath to see if something could be worked out. In the meantime my drum crew and I, along with our US endorsers, finished all the necessary planning for a swift departure to the UK.

There wasn’t a whole lot to complete; we’d all been on standby more or less since mid-January 2012. The remaining work in the UK was confirmed done by our European and UK endorsers and we were good to go by Friday, May 4 2012. There were two stress points: firstly, getting an agreement in place, and secondly, getting to England in a timely manner.

Jetlag time was taken into account as well as drum practice, a drum practice room in the heart of Birmingham, accommodation, and travel arrangements were all in place to meet with any band rehearsals that may have transpired before the Birmingham show. So far everything that had been arranged was on my dime, but we didn’t move ahead without a realistic confirmation.

Communications between the representative and my lawyer continued through the weekend of May 5 finalizing on Wednesday, May 9. The offer we received on May 9 was, “come to the UK, play for free and see how the first show goes.” I was tempted. Playing for free would not have been a problem for me, but “seeing how the first show goes” left an element of risk which could have affected Download. My ideal thought was to play in full the Birmingham show, in full Download, and in full Lollapalooza.

I had notified the representative that May 10 was my cutoff day in order to have good lead-in time for England. On the night of May 9 I asked for a brief letter to be sent to the representative asking to find out if we were at an end. On the morning of Thursday, May 10, I received a reply in the affirmative. After consulting with my advisors and crew a decision was made to let go and stop.

I can’t prioritize the Sabbath fans making one show more important than the other. I can’t do that. All of you are important. It’s all the gigs or none at all. I can’t come to Birmingham and “see what happens” knowing there is a risk of not being able to playDownload or Lollapalooza. Again, for me, it’s all or nothing. I had to say “no” to Birmingham on the principle of wanting to play all the shows. Saying no to Birmingham is very difficult for me. My family grew up in Birmingham. Black Sabbath grew up in Birmingham. It’s still my hometown and I resent having to arrive at such a difficult choice.

Although the statement was made that, “the door is always open” for me, as explained above, walking through that door is not always as easy as it sounds. There are many complicated issues and unseen and unspoken agendas on hand. I can assure you, my criteria for a “signable” contract is based in mindful principles, respectability, and acknowledgement of my history within the band.

I hold no malice or resentment towards the other band members. I love them; I’m tolerant of them; I’m frustrated with them, as they may be with me. My fight has never been with them. I’ll love them forever. In my opinion, nobody wins this time; the band doesn’t win; the fans for an original lineup don’t win. Nobody wins, nobody. Even the ones who thought they did.

I didn’t want to make this decision, but I have to be honest and transparent. This is the statement I didn’t want to write; it’s the last thing I wanted to do. But, I have written it, and now it can go into the universe.

Since Spring of 2011, I’ve waited patiently and hopefully for a signable contract, you know the rest. I stand for the boy in the U.K., for the coming drum student, for all the drummers, who write their parts out and get stiffed on the publishing, I stand with the Sabbath fans chanting “Bill Ward” and asking “why?” and I stand with Tony andGeezer and Ozzy.

On a final note, even though I’m at an end with the upcoming announced concerts, I will remain with an open mind and a position of willingness to negotiate “signable” terms with Sabbath’s representatives in the future.

Stay strong.
Stay safe.

With all my heart and strength, I love you,
Bill Ward”

 

 

 

Check Out The Classic Black Sabbath song “It’s Alright” with Bill Ward on Vocals Below:

 

 

Tagged , , ,

B.o.B’s ‘Strange Clouds’

B.o.B’s song “Airplanes” was one of the biggest hits of 2010, and went quadruple platinum. This solidified the 23 year old rapper in the world of music. Recently B.o.B released a fifteen track album Strange Clouds that features a great number of collaborations. The album also features tremendous production from various producers including Dr. Luke, Jim Jonsin, and B.o.B himself.

The album starts out with the track “Bombs Away” which features a guess spot from the amazing voice of Morgan Freeman. Lyrically the song talks about B.o.B’s struggle with success. The next track is called “Ray Bans” which is a clever play on the rappers first name, Bobby Ray. The next track is called “So Hard To Breathe” a heartfelt track about his struggles to remain normal, whilst experiencing tremendous success.  The track also features a killer hook with a tremendous bass part which is put far up into the mix.  The next track was really unexpected especially because it features country star, Taylor Swift. The song is called “Both of Us” and starts out with just Swift and an acoustic guitar. This leads into a tight verse from B.o.B. and a chorus that is sung beautifully by Swift. The next track is the album’s title track “Strange Clouds” which features Lil Wayne, and is an ode to hard partying and living. The next track is called “So Good” and is the second single, and my personal favorite from the album because of its catchy hook and clever verses. The next track is “Play for Keeps” which is an awesome track with a tight beat and verse. The next track that caught my attention was “Out of My Mind” which features an awful guess spot from Nicki Minaj.  The final track “Where Are You” is interesting because it features an inner dialogue about the struggle between being Bobby Ray and B.o.B.

Strange Clouds is one of the most diverse Hip-Hop/Rap albums I’ve heard. I mean at points it goes country, and at some points it hits lows, but it came back and delivers with tracks like “Where Are You”. Check out Strange Clouds!

B. Harlow

Check Out the Music Video for “So Good” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,