100 million plays is impressive. A song has to zip around the globe, capture the hearts and minds of music fans everywhere, and lodge itself into the collective consciousness to rack up such a tally. Movies, TV shows, radio, grocery store playlists...100 million plays tends to mean a song is everywhere. "King", the stand out track from UK dance pop trio Years and Years
is approaching such a feat on the almighty YouTube.
Adding but one more tally to the mountain of streams the band has already collected will give any listener a great idea as to why the stand out single from the band's new album, Communion
is getting around. It's a severely infectious, splashy house-inspired jam with a chorus that will lodge itself into those gooey bits of the brain that are responsible for earworms. And there's that fun little synth line...god bless that cheeky little nugget.
In a recent chat with the band atop the roof of Terminal 5 - the massive, NYC club where the band was set to play a sold out show a few hours later - there's debate about whether a snowball is the best analogy to represent the global buzz on the band. Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy, and Emre Turkmen go back and forth, ultimately deciding Mikey, the Australian in the group, has no say in the matter due to his home country's lack of the white stuff. It's never actually decided whether the metaphor is apropos, but we think it is.
One thing that has been decided on is that, after 6 years of making music together, the band has spent the last year and change on a massive roll. A big part of that is the type of music Years and Years specialize in. Communion
is plump full of the kind of dance pop gold artists like Disclosure, Clean Bandit, and Kiesza have spent the last couple of years peppering the charts with. "All over the world dance music is popular," Olly explained during our meetup. "Possibly because the people who are making it remember it from when they were kids. You need about 15 years before you bring everything round again. All the people who are in their early 20s are making the stuff they liked when they were kids". By that logic, all the people who aren't making it are consumming it. And judging by the euphoric reception the band received when they took the stage at T5 later that night, there is a massive audience craving exactly what Years and Years do so well.
Another reason the band find themselves in the spotlight has a lot to do with Olly's fearless approach to his recent fame. "King" - that supremely sweet single racking up all those plays - is a song about his on-again, off-again relationship with another man...a man everyone in the band can agree is a douchebag. Hope he's not watching or counting all those plays! "It kind of feels good sometimes to be messed around by someone," Olly told us. "I felt completely incapable of ending it".
Of course unhealthy relationships are universal. All the subject matter the band touch on this album is. "Mainly heartbreak themes...angst ridden and neurotic", per Olly. But he also admits that his position as an out, gay pop star brings with it an added realm of attention/pressure straight pop stars generally don't have to carry on their shoulders. "It's difficult for queer artists," the 25 year old singer explained. "[People] heap so much onto the few who are there to be spokespersons for a crazily massive diverse community."
If band feels any of this pressure at all, you wouldn't know it talking to them or watching the band power through their set at T5. They are natural and completely ecstatic on stage...the result of grinding their teeth in shit gigs before getting to the business of breaking out. With Communion
out, a high profile headlining tour snaking its way across America, and all those YouTube plays adding up, the future is bright. Expect to be hearing from these guys for, err...years and years to come.
Years & Years are a British electronica band founded in London. The band consists of frontman and keyboardist Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, and synth player Emre Trkmen. Years & Years' music has been described as electropop, mixing R&B and '90s house elements, with Flying Lotus, Diplo, Radiohead and Jai Paul being their core influences. Their single "King", reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, while their latest single "Shine", reached number 2.