Fast cars, shooting stars
Until it's Vegas everywhere we are
from Kanye West (Ft. Alicia Keys, Charlie Wilson, Elly Jackson, Elton John, Fergie, John Legend, Kid Cudi, Rihanna, Ryan Leslie, The-Dream & The World Famous Tony Williams) – All of the Lights Lyrics on Rap Genius
Kanye sets the scene for his insight into celebrity life, and at first it’s all good. As in Vegas, they are up all night, surrounded by money, glamor, and glitz
“Shooting stars” means rising celebrities (and the flash of cameras shooting at them), and also represents “wishes come true”
(add. analysis by leroybrownbpj)
Possibly the strongest and deepest wordplay on the whole record. This and the follow lines tie into a very subtle and painfully ambivalent double entendre, which is extremely easy to miss:
– “Shooting stars” may initially sound like “rising celebrities”, but shooting stars do not rise. They plummet.
– The “glitz and glamour” of Las Vegas style life may seem desirable for those looking in, but for those on the inside (especially the subject of this line) it is far from.
– The final line of the chorus. Note the vocals and beat sharply become more somber at the end of the second line as they lead into Kanye lamenting a great “star”’s death (MJ’s)… How long is “the rest of your life”?
The chorus is an homage to Tupac Shakur’s premature death, as well as a warning, continuing with the theme of the album, that celebrity, glamour, etc., are not always what they’re cracked up to be.
The “shooting” of rap’s biggest “star” as he rode in his “fast car” in Las “Vegas” is a powerful juxtaposition to the image that people tend to conjure when they hear these lines.
Deep enough on it’s own, the level of subtly in the reference itself is a reference to the concept of the entire album: things are not always as simple or wonderful as they appear.
This is the feeling of being trapped in an inescapable “Vegas”, “for the rest of your life”.
Meta, meta, and as “Dark”, yet “Beautiful” as promised by the album’s title.
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