« Previous | Main | Next »

B.O.B. ft. Hayley Williams - 'Airplanes'

Post categories:

Fraser McAlpine | 10:35 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010


Confusingly, this isn't supposed to be offically released until August 9th, even though it has been biffing around the lower reaches of the Top 40 for a while now. This is clearly a crackers state of affairs, so let's just plant a stick in the ground that says "it's available to buy, ergo, it's officially released" and get down to firing up the ChartBlog Reviewmerizer. It takes about a month to warm up in any case.

Now, this is not the most original of subject matter for a rap song. A pondering on how far BOB has come since his first scrabbly steps as a wannabe MC. It's fair to say almost every rapper has a bash at this song eventually, with varying degrees of success. Hell, Drake's DEBUT single was about this very thing, presumably because the memories are still very fresh for him.

(Here's the video. It's shadowy)

The trick is to not rub everyone's noses in your success, while pointing out that you got where you got to by risking everything, working hard, and practising until you became something like the best at it. But this is different. Mostly these songs are a fond memory of The Struggle, but this is closer to feeling like a horror story of how bad things had to get before they got good again.

The version of the song which nails this hardest is the one Eminem has a guest verse on ('Airplanes Pt.2'), because he, as always, is very good at listing in blistering detail how close his life came to total disaster - or in fact to what extent his life already WAS a total disaster - before his music career took off.

And of course it's a melancholy victory anyway, because we all know stardom didn't solve all of his problems. So it's not that anyone is wishing the good things in their life away, it's more a challenge to everyone to recognise that they're in charge of their own luck. Dedication is easy if you're already winning. The challenge is to keep going when you can't think of a single compelling reason why you should.

Also, if it's melancholy victory you want, there aren't many singers you could get better than Hayley Williams. She's great at that kind of slightly bitter, telling-yourself-off sadness. Her last-chance croak representing the inner monologue of someone who desperately wants to see happier times, and is desperate enough to create their own superstitions in order to feel better about things. A form of denial that's comforting in the short term, but holds you back if you cling to it.

Docked one star for BOB's singy bits, which don't quite hit the heights everything else does. Normally I wouldn't care, but it's clearly a brutally honest song, so it's only fair to be brutally honest back.

Four stars Download: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Sound Savvy says: "There's so much I love about this song, it's got depth, range and it's just all around awesome."

Awesomenity says: "I'm wondering why no one tapped Hayley Williams for a collaboration sooner?."

We Wore Masks says: "This one is fire. Well done as the hook-woman, Ms. Williams."


  • Comment number 1.

    There's something about this song i've not felt about another song in a while, something that's made so addicted to the song unlike any other since I heard 'Bad Romance' for the first time.

    (Not that i'm comparing the two songs, its just an example :) )

    This song is, in my opinion, my favourite song of 2010 so far. May seem a bit far fetched, but theres something about B.o.B. 's part in this song that for once makes me interested in the rap as well. He tells his story well, and he's not boasting either, which is always a good sign.

    The addition of Hayley is a good choice too. I'm a Paramore fan, and i'm totally for her being in a song like this away from the band.

    All over, it's not perfect (i.e. like fraser said - 'B.o.B 's singy bits') but its a 5 Star song for me, because sometimes the 'unperfect' parts of a song make it realistic, but its still an amazing song in my opinion :)

  • Comment number 2.

    Not a big fan of B.o.B in general, Nothing On You was a nice enough song but did nothing for me, however I'll admit this is a good tune. B.o.B's rap is good enough but Hayley Williams is the real star for me, she does a great job of not overpowering song whilst sounding distictive enough not to be 'just the girl who sings the chorus'.

    4 Stars for me

  • Comment number 3.

    This song is absolutely outstanding in my opinion. B.o.B raps exceedingly well, and don't get me started on Hayley Williams, can that girl do any wrong? Anyway 5 stars from me!

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes, I'm in agreement with everyone here. It's clear that this song is very special and has crossover appeal to those that don't like hip-hop. I agree with the Awesomenity quote above. It's funny that this is Hayley Williams first collaboration when she clearly has the looks, talent and charisma to do well in pop and provide the hits. I can really see a career in pop stardom for Hayley if Paramore ever split up or go on hiatus. She reminds me of Gwen Stefani only with a more likeable personality and a more understated beauty.

    I absolutely love B.o.B.'s album. It's incredibly creative and reminds me of Kanye West back in the day. B.o.B. is a musician as well as a rapper and he's not too a bad a singer, singing the chorus on the album's first track Don't Let Me Fall. Third single please!

    The chorus of this song is pure magic and simple. Lots of people on blogs have criticsied Hayley for not showing her usual powerhouse range like she does with Paramore but I like that she retains herself here. The chorus is easy to sing along with and has a sort of dreamy, melancholy and whimsical feel to it.

    My only concern is that this song is already garnering so much airplay well before its official release. I hope the song doesn't drop before 9th August because that would be a crime.

    P.S. I've heard that a remix video will be released for Airplanes Part II. The song has the same infectious chorus but some new verses from B.o.B. and Eminem. Excited?

  • Comment number 5.

    Contrary to my views on JLS, I DO think that Hayley Williams has kind of sold out. I've been a massive fan since 2006 so I have a fairly special relationship with Paramore and I just feel that they're not what they were. I know that all bands grow and progress and she was only 16 at the time but looking back I doubt that Hayley would have considered this at the time.
    "B.o.B. is one of my favorite artists out right now. Can't believe I am a part of his new album... If I was ever going to get to be "that girl" - you know, the one that sings the hook in all the good Biggie songs - I am happy that I get to be that girl on one of Bobby Ray's songs." - Hayley Williams

    That to me just smacks of PR people. Hayley being one of my heroines, I kind of feel a bit let down that she's become 'that girl', when she said she never would.

  • Comment number 6.

    B.o.B like that Kanye West back in the day? He's alright but he's by no means as creative or as good a lyricist, listen to Jesus Walks, Gold Digger, Touch The Sky and The New Workout Plan for proof. B.o.B's good but Kanye is legend.

  • Comment number 7.


    Don't go on the defensive there. I've heard all those songs above (who hasn't?) and yes, they are lyrically genius and I'm a big fan of Kanye. When I said he reminded me of Kanye West back in the day, I didn't mean he was on par with him. B.o.B. is only 21 though and Kanye West was 27 when he unleashed his debut album The College Dropout. So B.o.B. has plenty of time to grow in creativity and songwriting. He shows a lot of promise. Nothin' On You and Airplanes, while radio friendly, are not indicative of his true talent. If you listen through B.o.B.'s stellar debut B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, you'll definitely get an old school Kanye vibe of it. But no not as great as Kanye...yet!

    @ Olivia,

    I've been a fan of Paramore since 2005. They really inspired me as a group because their drummer Zac Farro was only 15 when their first album came out, only a year older than I was at the time. Unlike Disney acts and the YouTube sensations, Paramore actually impressed the record label with their gigging and performance.

    The group, with Hayley in particular, have never made any secret that they enjoy pop music and are influenced by it. You only have to hear early singles like Pressure, Crushcrushcrush and That's What You Get to know what humungous pop hooks they had in those. While Paramore cite their influences as alternative rock bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate and New Found Glory, Hayley has also stated on numerous occasions that she's a fan of N*Sync, Michael Jackson and Lady GaGa. The band have also referenced Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G. and Snoop Dogg before in videos on their site.

    It's not like Hayley has stripped down to her underwear or wore a bikini with cupcakes attached (for music videos anyway). It's not like she comes out singing in full blown Auto-Tune or making a guest appearance on some really superficial song. Airplanes has some great inspirational lyrics and Hayley maintains her indie image in the official video for the song.

    So what if the track is radio friendly? So what if Brand New Eyes reached #1 in four countries? Hayley and co. were always far too talented to be some underground rock band or someone hovering on the edges of the mainstream. They deserve to be huge and throughout all their music careers, have a good range of commerical and non-commerical music. Compare Airplanes with the more subtle Decode and see what I mean. Spirit will back me up on that as I remember reading a while back that it took him many listens to appreciate the power of Decode.

    I think the word sell-out is used far too much these days just because an artist becomes successful.

    P.S. I know I'm coming across all snarky in my responses to Harry and Olivia above but I'm not discrediting you're opinions as such, I'm just in debate mode.

  • Comment number 8.

    IT took me many listens to appreciate the power of DECODE .

  • Comment number 9.

    I didn't mean to sound defensive I just can't understand the massive hype surrounding B.o.B, to me he just sounds like a decent not great rapper with one great song.

  • Comment number 10.

    I really love this album. Rap and hip-hop seem to be coming back to life at an excelled rate. Kanye's always been above par, but we've been treated to Big Boi, Drake, Jay-Z and the forever good Lil Wayne (Rebirth is underrated) Also loving the slowly growing mainstream UK scene like Skepta, Giggs and Tinie. B.o.B's got a tidbit of alternative about him, which doesn't really mean anything I guess, but he does the crossover very well. Hayley Williams is fantastic on this track, and the beautiful tinkling of the ivories is welcome to the ears. Good choice for a single, 4 from me, only because the subject isn't that engaging any more after Eminem totally overdid it. (though ironically he has a great cameo on pt. II of the song, guess it's fair do's as he tore a new one in the whole longing for a simpler life thing)

  • Comment number 11.

    What I like about this song, is it doesn't elaborate on how B.o.B. wants to rub up a girl in da club - like so many other wannabe rappers these days.

    Tinie Tempah, Sean Kingston, Professor Green, Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj, will.i.am, Usher etc, all now rap about makin' da lurrv wit da shawties.

    Enimen and Jay-Z have never done that - that's why they have longevity like no other rap stars.

    B.o.B. put some thought into this one, and Hayley's appearance is beautiful.

    4 stars, and here's hoping for more of this in the future.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hayley's chorus is the huge hook , and the brilliant foundation of the song .
    Her voice evokes such melancholy , longing and beauty . She really shines and draws in the listener .
    A fantastic , first class vocal performance .

    The rest appears to pale against the magnitude of this huge chorus .

  • Comment number 13.

    @ 11

    I think Jay Z may have mentioned rubbing girls up in clubs at some point before he was married.

    To be honest I don't mind Prof. Green because he actually makes an effort to tell a story and is quite funny sometimes, even if the stories are incredibly similar.

  • Comment number 14.

    @Olivia, I'm sorry you feel Hayley has sold out, I'm very new to Paramore, having never litened to them much until their last single "The only exception" got me hooked, I've spent the last few months listening - exam time meant this was up to 15 hours a day! I like that they play more commerical music now, as I'd probably NEVER have heard them otherwise.

  • Comment number 15.

    @ Knoxx,

    Olivia probably thinks Hayley and Paramore have sold out because she's showing up on rap songs and Brand New Eyes did so well. But I WILL STRESS THIS!


    Give Pressure a listen from their first album in 2005 All We Know Is Falling and That's What You Get from their second album RIOT! in 2007. Listening to these songs, you'll hear that they're much catchier than any of the recent Paramore singles even though they didn't make a dent in the chart.

    Paramore have always made commercial music, if anything, this new album is less commerical.

  • Comment number 16.

    Here, I'll even post links. After 30 seconds you'll be singing along or at least bobbing your head.


    'That's What You Get'

  • Comment number 17.

    @ 13

    Oh I do know, but as you said since marrying Beyoncé he's toned it down a bit, mainly rapping about himslf now, which can sometimes come of as egotistical ('Run This Town', 'On To The Next One' etc.)

    And yeah I am a fan of Professor Green as well - I'm lovin' what I though was going to be a bit naff - 'Just Be Good To Green', egotistical yes, but Lily Allen makes and appearance, so it has to be good.

  • Comment number 18.

    This could well be number one before physical release.

    I so wanted Knaan to get a number one, but that stupid 'Shout for england' song got in the way.

  • Comment number 19.

    I reckon this song could be in the top 3 by Sunday , my Danish international friend .

  • Comment number 20.

    This song is #2 on iTunes, Katy's still reigning supreme though.

  • Comment number 21.

    Yeah I think the flag is at half mast now , so the top 4 will be B .O .B , ENRIQUE , KYLIE and KATY . Tomorrows sales will be the deciding factor in the final positions .

  • Comment number 22.

    The Top 5 currently stand as...

    1. Katy and Snoop
    2. Kylie
    3. B.o.B and Hayley
    4. Enrique and Pitbull
    5. K'naan

  • Comment number 23.

    And I bet that cute little Kutox can hazard a guess at what will be the following weeks number 1 . lol

  • Comment number 24.

    Prediction for Sunday:

    1# California Gurls
    2# Airplanes
    3# I Like It
    4# Love The Way You Lie
    5# Commander or All The Lovers.

  • Comment number 25.

    I think 'Commander' will only just crack the Top 10, maybe #9-#10, unfortunately.

    'Airplanes' for #1!

  • Comment number 26.

    It's not Paramore's success I have an issue with, as of course I'd never wish for any band I like to have to remain unknown and consequently risk them having to disband. I'm not one of those rock-snobs who doesn't like it when a band filters into the mainstream. It's great that doing things like appearing on film soundtracks introduces a new audience to a band who might not otherwise have had the enjoyment. You can't always find every band first obviously. What I do have an issue with is when success changes a band.

    Random I agree that AWKIF and RIOT! had much more obvious hooks, but I would disagree that they were necessarily more pop than brand new eyes. While perhaps more instantly recognisable, a lot of them are also heavier - take All We Know, Emergency or my personal favourite My Heart.
    I wasn't all that impressed by bne if I'm honest.

    I understand a band's music is a reflection of where they are in life, and Hayley is no longer a teenager but a young adult in a committed relationship, which certainly shows in bne. However, as a 13 year old, for me Hayley was something of an idol for me, someone finally to fill the void between Avril Lavigne and Amy Lee. The former being far too annoying and pop for me (not to mention a poor singer), the latter far too dark.

    It's nice now that musical genres are mixing more and more, but when the person you practically worshipped does something you wouldn't have chosen for them to do, it's kind of disappointing. Am I wrong in feeling that?

  • Comment number 27.

    So you mean you're disappointed because Hayley has done something you personally wouldn't of wanted her to do? Sorry but I think what she does in music is up to Hayley herself, not anyone else. What's she meant to do - carry out her career based on what a few other people think she should do?

    I don't see what she's done that's so bad anyway. It's not as if it's a cynical collaboration aimed at raising her profile because she doesn't need that, and neither is it some tacky sexualised pop or R&B song with Hayley as the 'object'.

  • Comment number 28.

    HAYLEY'S input into this song is nothing short of magical . It is a wonderful progression in her career .

  • Comment number 29.

    Obviously it's up to Hayley, I'm hardly her main consultant nor am I claiming to be. But you're saying if your favourite artist did something like write a song about how they hate fat people that was sung to the tune of Mr Blobby (not that I'm saying this is what Hayley has done, it's just an extreme hypothetical) you wouldn't be disappointed? You're allowed not to agree with every decision somebody makes.
    I'm just trying to say that this isn't what I loved her for. That is all.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hayley should release a solo version ala Alicia Keys with Empire State of mind.

  • Comment number 31.

    Airplanes is now number 2!

  • Comment number 32.

    Ok Olivia, I guess I get where you're coming from because I really loved Rihanna, but her change in musical direction really disappointed me, but I decided to blame Chris brown for that ;)
    As for Amy lee, hayley has totally replaced her for the moment for me when i'm in the mood although songs like lithium and tourniquet are amazing, and will always move me.

  • Comment number 33.

    EVANESCENCE are releasing a new album this year. It will have more electronic influences but still stay true to the original Evanescence style.

    AVRIL LAVIGNE will release her new album in September. She will ditch the poppish sound from The Best Damn Thing in favour of a more acoustic mature sound. About time seeing as she's now 25! One of her songs leaked the other day that is rumoured to be the lead single from the album. It's called Won't Let You Go and it's a catchy ballad that doesn't stray too far away from her Let Go/Under My Skin sound.

  • Comment number 34.

    Olivia, I certainly don't agree with everything my favourite artists do. If Hayley had done something extreme then fair enough, but this collaboration won't affect anything about her career with Paramore, or what she's like, will it?

  • Comment number 35.

    Okay I never meant to provoke such a backlash, I just meant that as a 13 year old straying into alternative territory for the first time she was it; I wanted to be her in the Emergency video. This isn't alternative and so my 13 year old self wouldn't approve.

  • Comment number 36.

    Aaaah but look into your heart, what doe syour 17-year old self say?


  • Comment number 37.

    Hahaha, this is getting deep maaaaaaaan.

  • Comment number 38.


  • Comment number 39.

    @ 37, Like TOTALLY, I need to get my crystal ball and tarot cards and I'll be all set, meanwhile you can join hands with Randy, Haducon, spirit, Fraser, Adam and the long-lost Liam.

  • Comment number 40.

    Agreed with Adam. I really cannot wait for a new Evanescence album. In the meantime you can listen to Ben Moody's new band We Are The Fallen - there basically Evanescence 2.0 but they're very reminiscent of Evanescence during the Fallen era although with more grower songs than catchy ones.

  • Comment number 41.

    number one on the itunes chart. 2 places ahead of JLS.

    Probably because everyone who wanted to buy it has already bought it.

  • Comment number 42.

    The Evanescence album has been delayed to an unspecified date! I am unbelievably gutted, of course there are bands like "We Are The Fallen" to help me bide the time until the next album, but there isn't anyone with quite as good a voice as Amy, is there? :(

  • Comment number 43.

    Where did you read that Jordananan. I just found out its due for release in August or September.

  • Comment number 44.

    Twitter, Evanescencenews;
    News Update: Amy Lee has announced that the new album will be delayed to an unspecified date. More details to follow.
    Amy: "We’ve taken some time out of the studio to get our heads into the right creative space, work on the songs and write some more music.
    My record label has been going through some very uncertain times, as are many record labels, and that’s made things a little unclear.
    We are focusing on what we do best: making music. We’ll be back in the studio recording the album soon enough.
    I think that it can only be stronger for this extra time we’re putting into it, and we will all be better for the hurdles in the end.
    Thank you, again and always, for being such patient and loyal fans- I believe in this music and I can’t wait to share it with you."

    I'm taking it as credible but of course, it may not be.

  • Comment number 45.

    It's nice to hear they're taking time out instead of rushing out a half-baked album to add to this year's stale charts.

    It worked for the Scissor Sisters, who now have one of the best albums of the year.

  • Comment number 46.

    I only like evanescence for Amy's amazing voice. I don't usually do dperessing music, but 'Hello' from their first album is a song i could just listen to over and over!

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    @ 45. I'm pleased you changed your mind on Night Work after your initial response to it :P I must of listened to it more than 10 times now, it's very addictive.

  • Comment number 49.

    OMG!!! B.o.B has sampled 'The kids dont stand a chance' by Vampire Weekend!

  • Comment number 50.

    Do tell us more Adam...

  • Comment number 51.

    Basically, he sings the chorus of 'The kids don't stand a chance', the lyrics are rather meaningful but he's killed it. Janelle Monae is in the song though, so saves the day! It still a load of rubbish though \"

  • Comment number 52.

    Chart update:

    Airplanes at no.1.

    JLS down 6 at number 7!!!!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Hahaha I saw that as well and laughed!

  • Comment number 54.

    Right , tonight's number 1 will either be this or "Love The Way You Lie "

    It is gonna be tight , and too close to call.

    If I was the betting man I used to be , before all the bookies got cold feet when they heard me on the phone , I would say it will be "Airplanes" , but it is so close I would only bet a bag of pork scratchings on this .

    Ok , I'll throw in a night out with Randy on the razzle dazzle as well !

  • Comment number 55.

    Excuse me, Spirit, but you can't sell me off like some cheap article!!! Its very offensive! *folds arms and huffs*

  • Comment number 56.

    Relax Randy , " Airplanes" is number 1 !

    With my predicting skills , your dignity was in no danger of being sold off !

    You really should have more faith in me !

    *folds arms and then acts like a self-absorbed diva , in ways that you could never guess*


  • Comment number 57.

    Predicting skills, Spirit?

    You have the Chart Update and the live iTunes chart.

    It's easy enough to make a prediction with those two things.

  • Comment number 58.

    Hi my Danish friend , stick around , I do loads of predictions of songs that are yet to be released .
    I could list loads of previous correct ones here , but stay close and we will predict the future together .

  • Comment number 59.

    I think I have already predicted The Hoosiers and The Wanted singles a while back , and they are both yet to be released .

    There is no chart update or I-Tunes chart for these songs .

    Harry will also vouch for my successes , and he will also remind me , of HIS glorious moment, when I was 1 position out for the first Jedward single , that I had predicted, after it's first play on UK radio .

    I think me and Harry truly bonded that week ! lol

    He had a good gloat after that .

  • Comment number 60.

    that was a pretty glorious moment.

  • Comment number 61.


    See what I mean about gloating ! :)

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh and Mr Bendtner , weeks ago I said that "Club Can't Handle Me" would be a high new entry on August 8th .
    Probably top ten.
    See if you can find that, right now on the I-Tunes Chart. :)

  • Comment number 63.

    Where's Mr Bendtner?

    Sunday's number 1 will be either I Speak No Americano or Airplanes , probably the former .

    Basshunter will go top 30 or maybe 20 with Saturday .

    Pendulum will go top 40 with Witchcraft .

    In the album charts Professor Green will have the highest new entry , and well in the top ten .

  • Comment number 64.

    I agree with all of your predictions :)

  • Comment number 65.

    And one of my favourite world cup goals was your great finish against Cameroon . Fantastic team goal ! So basically its love all round then ? Good !

  • Comment number 66.

    So Katy Perry has the most heard song on uk radio this week . Maybe Mr B can read comment 525 on the JEDWARD thread , which was written weeks before release . ;)



Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.