They say this every four years, but the upcoming presidential campaign promises to be the most negative in recent memory. Leave it to the new video for B.o.B and Taylor Swift's sappy collaboration "Both of Us," which has enough star-spangled banners and rootsy Americana for an especially glossy political commercial, to infuse the coming months with morning-in-America optimism. "Someday I will be strong enough / To lift not one but both of us," Swift coos on the track from Bobby Ray's Strange Clouds, a sentiment that surely wouldn't be out of place at a certain party convention scheduled for Charlotte, North Carolina., this September.
In the hands of director Jake Nava, whose staggering list of credits includes Adele's "Someone Like You," Kanye West's "Monster," and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" (the last of which, as Swift no doubt remembers, was one of the best videos of ALL TIME), this ruggedly patriotic approach can be surprisingly effective. Shot in Nashville, the clip shows B.o.B and Swift walking among average folks: cowboy boots, tattoos, pool halls, trailer parks, chicken joints, the works. Swift, with a glamorous look that belies her girl-next-door beginnings, might represent the American Dream here, or else reality for the 1 percent — she appears to enjoy a beautiful life playing with dogs in a bucolic rural home.
The key line, though, is when B.o.B muses that "if it's all for one and one for all/ Then maybe one day we all could ball / Do it one time for the underdogs." Though the delivery might be heavy-handed, it's somewhat softened by the neatly executed video, and the message has the sometimes aesthetic advantage of being true. Aww, y'all.