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Track Review

Sometimes, as the old saying goes, life imitates art.

In the case of actor Paul Walker, star of the nitrous oxide-fueled Fast & Furious franchise, that imitation was of the saddest, most tragic kind. Walker and friend Roger Rodas were killed in a fiery car wreck when Rodas lost control of his Porsche Carrera GT in Valencia, Calif., on Nov. 30, 2013.

And, in turn, sometimes art pays tribute to life.

That's certainly the case with rapper Wiz Khalifa's tear-jerking tribute to Walker "See You Again," the No. 1 hit song from the soundtrack to Walker's final turn as Brian O'Conner in Furious 7.

Khalifa is joined by singer-songwriter Charlie Puth, whose clear, poignant tenor (paired with this song's subdued piano intro) is more than a little reminiscent of the music we've heard from British singer Sam Smith recently.

Puth begins somberly, singing, "It's been a long day without you, my friend." But hope and the titular allusion to an afterlife reunion turn up in the very next line: "And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again."

"See You Again," then, is all about the deep sorrow in the wake of losing a friend juxtaposed with the hope that someday there might be a heavenly reunion. "We've come a long way from where we began," Puth continues. "Oh, I'll tell you all about it when I see you again."

Khalifa's contribution begins with a profanity, which is really the only outright lyrical disappointment on this otherwise touching tribute to Walker. "D--n, who knew?" Khalifa raps, pondering the harsh reality that we don't know when a full, promising life might suddenly end. "All the planes we flew/Good things we've been through/That I'd be standing right here talking to you/About another path."

Khalifa recalls the best of those times together ("I know we loved to hit the road and laugh/ … Those were the days"), acknowledges the fruit of working hard with others ("Hard work forever pays") and tips his hat to the life-changing influence of faithful friendship ("And what's small turn to a friendship/A friendship turn into a bond/And that bond will never be broken/And the love will never get lost").

A gospel-tinged bridge brings family into focus as well, a frequent theme in the Fast & Furious franchise over the years: "How could we not talk about family when family's all that we got?/Everything I went through, you were standing there by my side/And now you gonna be with me for the last ride."

Hints of a bright and shining afterlife peek through the pain in other lyrics as well. "Now I see you in a better place," Khalifa tells us. "So let the light guide your way, yeah," he raps a bit later on, "Hold every memory as you go/And every road you take will always lead you home, home."

It's a comforting reflection on the possibility of a reunion in the next life, to be sure. That said, and at the risk of seeming impolite or churlish, the song doesn't ever dig into why or how someone might end up in heaven, other than alluding to the fact that Paul Walker was obviously deeply loved by his friends and peers.

Still, the song packs an emotional wallop as it reminds us that life is short, and that friendship and family are among the most cherished treasures to cling to in our limited time here. And it will, perhaps unintentionally, remind Christians that we will indeed see cherished, believing loved ones again in a heavenly reunion where every tear will be wiped away for good.

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A No. 1 hit.

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January 7, 2015

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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