Wiz Khalifa — See You Again ft. Charlie Puth (Review)
If you’ve ever seen “See You Again” on YouTube, you might have noticed the astonishing amount of views the video has. Currently, it has reached almost 3.1 billion views. That’s nearly half the human population!
You may be wondering why this particular music video is the second most-watched YouTube video of all time. To understand its popularity, you have to understand the context.
In late 2013, the Furious 7 movie was being filmed. Everything was going well until one day, tragedy struck Hollywood. Paul Walker, one of the stars of The Fast and the Furious movie franchise, died in a car accident. Production of the movie was immediately halted as celebrities and fans around the world paid their respects to Paul Walker. Having lost one of their main stars mid-production, the producers were hard-pressed with finishing the movie and finding a way to pay tribute to Walker. Finally in 2015, Furious 7 was released alongside a song that debuted at the end of the movie — “See You Again.”
“See You Again” became an instant hit upon its release. It spent 12 weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100. Charlie Puth’s career skyrocketed. The reason why? It was perfect.
“See You Again” is a combination of contemporary pop music and rap. At the start of the video, you can hear soft piano notes being played as scenic shots of a sunrise are shown. Once Puth’s soft, warm voice hits your speakers, you are automatically put at ease. You begin to feel a sense of sadness as you realize he is singing about someone who has passed. His vocal strength rings throughout your body as he hits those perfect notes. When the image of Paul Walker appears on screen, the magnitude of his death begins to affect your emotions. Periodically during the song, Wiz Khalifa appears with a rap segment. His rap usually accompanies a slideshow of clips from The Fast and the Furious franchise that depict Paul Walker and his co-stars as a family. Those images and the connection he had with his co-stars is amplified by the rising chorus. The video ultimately culminates in a final scene where Walker and co-star Vin Diesel enjoy one last ride together before Walker drives off into the sunset on his own. At the end, a white screen appears with the words, “For Paul.”
After watching this music video, many people would probably be emotional in some way. The music is amazing and the images were heartwarming; it does not take much explaining as to why this video was so popular. The people who produced the video used emotional techniques and popular culture to appeal to such a large number of people. The emotional aspects of the video were the vocals of Charlie Puth, the beautiful lyrics, and the images of the late Walker. They tugged at the heartstrings of many viewers, kindling feelings of sadness. Wiz Khalifa’s rap was a major inclusion of popular culture, as rap was on the rise as a music genre. The producers combined pop music and rap to appeal to twice as many people, whereas if the song was produced with just pop or just rap, their audience would not have been so large. The presence of authentic sports cars and clips from the movie franchise were also major popular culture features, as the video capitalized off the success of The Fast and the Furious, a franchise known for its explosive racing and sleek machines.
Taking all the features of the music video into account, it’s no wonder why half of the world’s population has seen the video. “See You Again” was a perfect blend of popular culture and emotions. The death of Paul Walker was a tragic event, but this video was a flawless tribute to his life. Walker will be remembered for generations for his contribution to the film industry and for how he touched the lives of so many people. People who have lost loved ones can use this song to remember those they have lost; the lyrics can be used to remember anyone who has had an impact on their life. “See You Again” preaches about accepting the passing of someone dear and highlights the possibility of seeing them again. The combination of sadness, acceptance, and optimism is something that very few people will ever replicate. There is no doubt that “See You Again” will leave its mark on history.