Just like his 2010 hit “Airplanes,” B.o.B is ready to soar again.
Hip-hop singer B.o.B is making a comeback with his new 12-song album, “Ether.”
Although B.o.B quietly released the albums “Psycadelik Thoughtz” and “Elements” in 2015 and 2016, respectively, “Ether” sets itself apart from his previous projects. The album’s confident, determined sound allows B.o.B to introduce himself all over again – this time as a daring rapper who unabashedly writes without restrictions, whether his songs are about girls or about personal struggles.
The album begins with “Fan Mail,” directed at listeners who have sent B.o.B hateful letters in the past. About halfway through the song, a phone rings, and B.o.B takes on the role of an angry caller. Pretending to be the criticizer, he raps, “Let me show you how to flow / Show you how to make music / Obviously, you clueless.”
The song confronts the criticism, expectations and judgment that B.o.B has faced in the music industry, challenging the voices who have spoken poorly about his music and worth.
By addressing the hate he has received during his music career, “Ether” serves as a breakthrough point in B.o.B’s journey for confidence. “Fan Mail” gives the album a foundation of strength and empowerment, making it clear that B.o.B has reclaimed his place in the music scene and is here to stay.
The middle of the album switches tempos, containing upbeat songs about partying and girls. “Tweakin,” featuring Young Dro, includes a deep bass and lyrics talking about getting drunk at a club. “4 Lit” – featuring T.I. and Ty Dolla $ign – talks about a night out partying with girls. Such subjects are expected within the hip-hop genre, and the handful of surface-level songs in “Ether” represents B.o.B’s identity as a rapper.
Yet by the tenth song, “Avalanche,” B.o.B shows his true feelings, plunging back into personal lyrics that respond to the criticism introduced in the opening song. The rapper sings, “I got a new confession / I battle with depression.” The intimate lyrics contrast with a bold, energetic beat, juxtaposing B.o.B’s persona as a brazen rapper with his identity as a person with emotional depth.
“Ether” ends with “Big Kids,” which features CeeLo Green and Usher. B.o.B raps, “Focusin’ on all the negative / The only thing that’s negative is somethin’ in you.” In the song, he realizes he is constantly driven into a state of criticism by those around him. By reflecting on his own pessimistic perspective and resolving to change, he inspires listeners to reassess their own viewpoints as well.
After years without a chart-topping hit, B.o.B shows growth and fortitude in “Ether.” The album’s bold beats, lyrics and themes serve as a strong foundation for the artist’s comeback.