They say the secret to having a hit is pretty easy: It needs a good beat you can dance to and should repeat the chorus hundreds of times. This is why Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady" is probably the greatest single ever. But scoring the official jam of summer is a little more complicated. It requires a big chorus, cool-sounding production and that certain enigmatic quality that makes it sound good while meat is being grilled.
B.o.B's "Airplanes" (which features an assist from Paramore singer Hayley Williams) is one of those songs. The Atlanta MC is riding a wave of cool with the chart-topping success of his debut album The Adventures of Bobby Ray, and while the album's first single, "Nothin' on You," had the sort of feel-good groove that would have made for a great summer song, "Airplanes" kicks it up a notch with a funky verse and a great sing-along chorus care of Williams, the song's secret weapon.
"Can we pretend that airplanes/ In the night sky / Are like shooting stars?" she sings. "I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)."
"I bring something totally different than what he brings to it," Williams told MTV News earlier this month.
And as Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt points out, "You can put that song on and please a lot of people at the same time."
The crossover potential of "Airplanes" makes it a strong candidate, and that should compensate for the fact that the lyrics and the accompanying piano track make the song somewhat darker than most summer jams tend to be.