Pop Culture dictionary



What does Airplanes mean?

Airplanes is a hit 2010 song by rapper B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams, remembered for its comparison of shooting stars to airplanes—which struck everyone as really profound at the time.

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Where does Airplanes come from?


In April, 2010, US recording artist B.o.B (Bobby Ray Simmons Jr.) released Airplanes, the third single off his first album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. The song featured Hayley Williams, lead singer of alternative rock band Paramore, on its chorus: “Can we pretend that airplanes / In the night sky are like shooting stars? / I could really use a wish right now / Wish right now, wish right now.” For his part, B.o.B. raps about longing for the simpler days before his stardom, hence the airplane-shooting star wishes.

“Airplanes” performed well in the US and abroad, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June, 2010 and hitting #1 in New Zealand and the UK.

Also on B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was “Airplanes, Pt. II,” featuring rapper Eminem alongside Williams’ original vocals. The sequel is never as good as the original, though.  “Airplanes, Pt. II” only reached #24 on the Billboard charts—still pretty sky-high, all things considered.

Examples of Airplanes

political debates on fb make me miss the days when every status was "can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars"
@BradynSharp, March, 2016
can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky r the starship enterprise on its 5 year mission to explore strange new worlds to seek out new
@ihateavac, January, 2016
That is until last year, when Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., aka B.o.B, publicly rejected the idea that Earth is round and started a monumental campaign to find the truth...B.o.B looks to build off his successful science-rap song “Airplanes,” released in 2010, which saw the Atlanta rapper challenge the idea of how airplanes truly work. The famous line, “Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shootin’ stars,” was an often overlooked commentary questioning the dichotomy between stars and airplanes.
Will Roper, The Daily Nebraskan, October, 2017

Who uses Airplanes?

By far, the most popular lyric from Airplanes is from the dreamy, opening chorus: “Can we pretend that airplanes/ In the night sky are like shooting stars?” The line is remembered, often mockingly, as a cultural touchstone of 2010 for its “deep” poetry and evocations of more innocent times.

Since 2010, the internet, true to form, has put the Airplanes lyric to good memetic use, especially when it came out that B.o.B. believed in Flat Earth conspiracies.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of Airplanes like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Airplanes that will help our users expand their word mastery.