It’s been in the works for a while — such is the peril of having two stars with such busy schedules — but now, it’s finally here: B.o.B and Hayley Williams’ video for “Airplanes” premiered on iTunes on Tuesday (June 15).
B.o.B shot his scenes for the video in April, and Williams didn’t do her part until after Paramore finished their spring tour. But despite the fact that the two stars were never even in the same room during filming, the final result is quite seamless: a moody, swirling video that perfectly matches the ominous, somber tone of the song.
B.o.B performs his scenes in an empty warehouse, a dark, dead space that’s given an electric overhaul (and faint heartbeat) with the creative lighting (and lasers!) of director Hiro Murai. Williams’ scenes also take place in the dark, though Murai bathes her in a swirling cosmos of lights and colors, a psychedelic effect that almost swallows her up.
Much like the song itself, there’s an emptiness to the “Airplanes” video, a dark, cavernous space that light cannot penetrate. It implies a void that will never be filled, no matter how hard you try. It can be seen as a metaphor for fame — the loneliness that only the famous know, the cavernous expanses of geography and emotion. It’s sort of a beautiful bummer, to be honest. In that sense, “Airplanes” recalls Drake and Trey Songz’s equally somber “Successful” video , another clip that explored the downside of celebrity and success.
There’s an art to such metaphors. It’s not complaining if you do it right. And in the case of “Airplanes,” a deft, decidedly human take on the pitfalls of everyone knowing your name (but never understanding your pain), B.o.B and Hayley Williams definitely did it right.
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