All of the Lights: Willow Smith & Far East Movement – Flashlights

Turn up the lights in here, baby / extra bright, I want y’all to see this  / turn up the lights in here, baby / you know what I need, want you to see everything / want you to see all of the lights – Kanye West, “All of the Lights”

Willow Smith and Far East Movement whipped across the globe this year like junior jetsetters; their infectious electro-pop sounds emerged from obscurity and hit ubiquity at the speed of light, they broke records beyond the speed of sound with a sonic boom that resonated across the planet. The free-wired high-flyers captured the world in a state of infinite liftoff; illuminating the world like it was their runway, Smith and FEM lit up the skies like flashlights over an airstrip.

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Willow Smith hit the ground running, poppin’ fresh out the oven with her debut single “Whip My Hair.” Think mini-misses Maybach Music/Rick Ross meets Shirley Temple. Whether it’s black cars — beats beasting the streets, lyrical flow whipping around tight corners – or black stars – dark aerial intergalactic superlative strobes — she’s feelin’ it and couldn’t no one whip it like she did. The daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett – one half Fresh Princess, one half Wicked Wisdom – did nothing less than set it off regally this year. At the ripe old age of nine, Smith has solidified a definitive aesthetic – both sonic and visual – and scribed her Hancock on the pop ledger. While she’s had only one single, it’s not about where you are or what you have in hand: it’s about where you’re going – because when stars launch, they never land.

Far East Movement hailed in from the West Coast with a diverse Asian flavor, indicative of the contemporary Pacific scene. They were ambiguous, yet starkly so; riding into 2010 on an imaginary jet that captured the sense of perpetual revelry in a private plane that is whatever you want it to be. One hop, two skips, and a step away they landed on planet Bruno Mars, club scene crooning through a futuristic romance on “Rocketeer.” They amplified a sonic snapshot of the space-age socialite bottle poppin’ in Japan, shoppin’ in Milan, living fast, and flying high. They were a taste of Flash-in-the-Pan-American-Pop for the kiddie palette.

Smith and the Movement were splashes of something, not that it mattered much what exactly that something was; and in their momentary home atop the Pop throne the kids took it back to the simple curiosity of “What if?”… What if you could whip your problems away in a not-so-19th-century-kind-of-way… What if you could explore the world through the window of a dream jet that doesn’t necessarily exist yet? Even if you can’t, what if you could make it sound so fantastically real that for just a second the world thought they could? Why not? Fly like a G6, fresh like a Pacific Prince, and with more flash than an airstrip – get it how you live it: fly, fresh, and flashy all day. Hey, it could happen — and look at that, it just did; because when you can live fast, and die young — why not just drop death, and live fun?

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