Years & Years

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I really don't care the great dark corporate forces beyond my ken are forcing me to love this band. "Mr Brightside (Thin White Duke Mix)" X "Night Air" X "Climax" X "So Good To Me" was an idea whose time had come.

Tim F, Thursday, 18 June 2015 13:07 (two years ago) Permalink

is the album out yet? I'm still a bit perplexed by their popularity, I enjoy them but they still seem a little bit like a dime-a-dozen blog band to me

I guess there is a bit of a cult of personality around the lead singer who I remember played a stalker in the skins reunion special

bae sremmurd (monotony), Thursday, 18 June 2015 13:27 (two years ago) Permalink

You forgot their latest (and probably my favourite) Tim:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXTAn4ELEwM

groovypanda, Thursday, 18 June 2015 13:31 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah that one is great too!

monotony they are totally a dime-a-dozen blog band, so much of the flava here comes from the fact that I could also conceivably describe them as Sam Smith X Walk The Moon.

Tim F, Thursday, 18 June 2015 13:35 (two years ago) Permalink

They strike me as so much more obvious than a dime-a-dozen blog band, but in the best possible way - they're going for the biggest hooks, the most obvious melodies, the stadium sing-along lyrics. I could never imagine the likes of Passion Pit or Hot Chip writing such immediate songs.

boxedjoy, Thursday, 18 June 2015 20:56 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah that too, they are totally unrestrained by notions of indieness.

I feel like coming up with the most gruesome metaphors possible, like, they are the Imagine Dragons to (insert here).

Tim F, Thursday, 18 June 2015 21:12 (two years ago) Permalink

Thanks for making this thread, was toying around with making a thread for these guys but wasn't sure they were big enough to merit it…

I don't get how "King" is their big hit because their other songs are so much better.

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Thursday, 18 June 2015 22:56 (two years ago) Permalink

Shine hasn't been released yet. Would be very surprised if that didn't also top the charts.

Surprised to learn that Take Shelter peaked at 140 though - I thought it was much bigger than that.

groovypanda, Friday, 19 June 2015 07:13 (two years ago) Permalink

they even have a toyboy & robin remix

dbs, Friday, 19 June 2015 09:48 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm a little confused. So we're comparing them to Sam Smith, Walk The Moon and Imagine Dragons as if that's a good thing? Or does Tim F take pride in liking bands that sound terrible on paper?

MarkoP, Friday, 19 June 2015 15:14 (two years ago) Permalink

Not pride, but I'm increasingly of the view that anything worthwhile derives at least some of its worth from containing hints of things that sound terrible on paper.

And it's much more interesting to work out why those hints work in a particular case than to try to construct everything as belonging to a closed circle of good taste.

Tim F, Saturday, 20 June 2015 07:25 (two years ago) Permalink

"king" is so good that i'm scared to listen to any of their other songs

J0rdan S., Saturday, 20 June 2015 17:17 (two years ago) Permalink

i feel like they're all similarly good-but-ignorable/forgettable

dyl, Saturday, 20 June 2015 21:20 (two years ago) Permalink

I found "King" can be slightly improved by singing it as "OH! I was a fing...er in your butthole".

Big tune, though.

oh, boy, .GIF! That's where I'm a Viking! (edwardo), Saturday, 20 June 2015 21:27 (two years ago) Permalink

lol that is indeed better

dyl, Saturday, 20 June 2015 21:28 (two years ago) Permalink

"Desire" is Monsta Boy via actual monstrous boys.

etc, Sunday, 21 June 2015 17:17 (two years ago) Permalink

ok i take back what i said before, i like "shine" quite a bit now

dyl, Monday, 22 June 2015 16:18 (two years ago) Permalink

i re-listened to all the others tho and still am not feeling them

dyl, Monday, 22 June 2015 17:50 (two years ago) Permalink

They're like populist junior boys

supreme problematics (D-40), Tuesday, 23 June 2015 01:52 (two years ago) Permalink

Really like "worship" and "memo" although king is still best

supreme problematics (D-40), Tuesday, 23 June 2015 01:52 (two years ago) Permalink

Where is Brad

supreme problematics (D-40), Tuesday, 23 June 2015 02:26 (two years ago) Permalink

I sent him a link to their SoundCloud a couple of weeks ago, he liked it

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Tuesday, 23 June 2015 04:06 (two years ago) Permalink

it's true, i like these guys. deej sent me "memo" earlier and it's very pretty

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Tuesday, 23 June 2015 04:30 (two years ago) Permalink

i think i would loathe the material of "eyes shut" if articulated by any other group

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Monday, 6 July 2015 17:46 (two years ago) Permalink

That song is almost bad enough to destroy any excitement I have for the album, it's really bad

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Monday, 6 July 2015 17:50 (two years ago) Permalink

i mean the appeal of this band for me was always the way they balanced between tasteful and tasteless. "eyes shut" sounds like a reorganized "see you again" but i still... don't really hate it exactly

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Monday, 6 July 2015 17:55 (two years ago) Permalink

meanwhile i've been listening a two song playlist that consists of "shine" and crj's "boy problems" on repeat

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Monday, 6 July 2015 18:01 (two years ago) Permalink

Whoa, turns out I've been listening to the album version of "Eyes Shut" this whole time, the EP version is a bit better

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Monday, 6 July 2015 18:16 (two years ago) Permalink

"Foundation" is a marvellously tense and brooding number, the darkside counterpart to "Memo".

Tim F, Monday, 6 July 2015 21:39 (two years ago) Permalink

"king" reminded me of savage garden

lex pretend, Monday, 6 July 2015 21:41 (two years ago) Permalink

Yep! They would do a dece cover of "to the moon and back".

Tim F, Monday, 6 July 2015 22:12 (two years ago) Permalink

the darkside counterpart to "Memo".

want someone 2 bury me alive 2 "memo"

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Tuesday, 7 July 2015 02:56 (two years ago) Permalink

savage garden is an extremely positive comparison in my book

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Tuesday, 7 July 2015 02:57 (two years ago) Permalink

I don't know why i wasn't caring at all about years & years, but the savage garden reference makes me want to listen to them.

Nourry, Tuesday, 7 July 2015 04:21 (two years ago) Permalink

savage garden makes the most sense of any comparison lol

supreme problematics (D-40), Tuesday, 7 July 2015 16:36 (two years ago) Permalink

ok this album

Tim F, Wednesday, 8 July 2015 01:42 (two years ago) Permalink

"Gold" is on repeat over here.

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Wednesday, 8 July 2015 23:23 (two years ago) Permalink

"shine" is just the best song in the world basically

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Friday, 10 July 2015 15:14 (two years ago) Permalink

'King' sounds like Bros produced by Hot Chip

nashwan, Friday, 10 July 2015 15:19 (two years ago) Permalink

come on guys, this music is crap.

cod latin (dog latin), Friday, 10 July 2015 15:20 (two years ago) Permalink

come on guys, this music is crap.

i'm convinced

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Friday, 10 July 2015 18:28 (two years ago) Permalink

i own two savage garden albums and haven't the slightest idea which song(s) y'all are thinking of when comparing years & years to them

"shine" is just the best song in the world basically

― insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Friday, July 10, 2015 8:14 AM (8 hours ago)

i am almost beginning to agree with this tho

dyl, Saturday, 11 July 2015 00:15 (two years ago) Permalink

This is another case of Tove Lo-ism for me. By definition, it should be my thing, but it's not and I actually kind of actively dislike it.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 11 July 2015 00:19 (two years ago) Permalink

Can't get over how amazing "Memo" is, and how accurately Ollie captures that sense of desire rendering you vulnerable and ashamed that is... If not unique to the gay experience then certainly uniquely framed by it.

Tim F, Saturday, 11 July 2015 05:35 (two years ago) Permalink

"Without" is just so fucking gorgeous.

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Saturday, 11 July 2015 05:59 (two years ago) Permalink

come on guys, this music is crap.

― cod latin (dog latin), Friday, 10 July 2015 15:20 (Yesterday) Permalink

yes everyone is lining up correctly

supreme problematics (D-40), Saturday, 11 July 2015 06:26 (two years ago) Permalink

Can't get over how amazing "Memo" is, and how accurately Ollie captures that sense of desire rendering you vulnerable and ashamed that is... If not unique to the gay experience then certainly uniquely framed by it.

― Tim F, Saturday, July 11, 2015 5:35 AM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I mean three out of the five singles to date have been about this to some extent so it's obviously an idee fixe but I think "Memo" captures it most nakedly and powerfully.

Tim F, Saturday, 11 July 2015 07:21 (two years ago) Permalink

fav of the new records is "Ties"

supreme problematics (D-40), Saturday, 11 July 2015 08:42 (two years ago) Permalink

where rtc at

k3vin k., Tuesday, 27 September 2016 07:24 (one year ago) Permalink

this album still knocks me out

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 27 September 2016 13:55 (one year ago) Permalink

yah I listen to it every couple weeks

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 13:56 (one year ago) Permalink

man this album is really good

lol at this thread btw. "sam smith meets walk the moon...but good", "what if bieber...was good", all otm. have to say i don't really get the 1975 references tho, other than they're both british dudes

k3vin k., Tuesday, 27 September 2016 23:10 (one year ago) Permalink

"meteorite" is pretty weak tho tbh

k3vin k., Tuesday, 27 September 2016 23:10 (one year ago) Permalink

Aren't't The 1975 Australian?

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 23:12 (one year ago) Permalink

lol no what

k3vin k., Tuesday, 27 September 2016 23:13 (one year ago) Permalink

Years & Years and The 1975 don't sound alike, but there is a strong structural resemblance between the pro- and anti- factions in respect of both bands.

The fact that Lex likes the first and hates the second actually quite neatly encapsulates all the differences between the two: Y&Y less indebted to rock or indie except in the broadest sense, and concomitantly more thoroughgoing in their grounding in dance music; Ollie's voice has limitations but does not carry a strong white Brit regional inflection; the lyrics romanticise the abjection of gay adolescence rather than the abjection of straight adolescence, etc.

But if Lex is the tipping point state in this equation, more broadly the typical reactions to each group tend to turn on a lot of the same dynamics - the way in which they occupy a space between good taste and bad taste, between "real" and "fake", such that even some people who are comfortable embracing (say) chart-pop will blanch at what they consider to be an objectionable blurring of these boundaries (though they wouldn't necessarily phrase it in those terms).

I'm reminded of an excellent Tom Ewing article from the dawn of time:

Proponents of Proper Music criticism tend to talk about rock and pop records being ‘real’ or ‘fake’, and the assumption seems to be that its ‘realness’ lends a patina of quality to a Shelby Lynne album which is absent from a Shania Twain one. I don’t hear it myself but if that’s your thing, fair do’s. On the other hand as I say I’ll take the transparent bogosity of a Shania over the veiled bogosity of so many indie rockers any day.

Anyhow, the real/fake distinction might have told apart the Monks and the Monkees back in ’66, but in today’s ultra-referential industry it needs refinement up a level. So we can now talk about records which are Real-Real, in other words which mean it for purposes other than making money off people who want their records to mean it. Depending on how cynical you are, this category might stretch as far as Nirvana on one hand and the Dead C on the other, or may not actually exist at all. It’s the easiest type of music to think about, is Real-Real, and the toughest to actually identify.

We can also, though, talk about records which are Fake-Real, whether by design – Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” – or by misjudgement – The Manics’ “Masses Against The Classes” – or by simply being trapped in rock history like a mammoth in a tar pit, like Primal Scream’s recent work. Even when Fake-Real records start life with the noblest of intentions, there’s a crucial gap between their desire to say or be something uncompromised, and the abilities of the people involved to pull it off. Bad Fake-Real songs never lose the unmistakeable whiff of the second-hand record shop: when I listen to Primal Scream’s “MBV Arkestra”, all I want to hear is MBV or the Arkestra, not the lumbering mess of noise which actually squats on my turntable. But there are good Fake-Real records – comedy ‘punk’ like Jilted John which twenty years on sounds easily as nervy and felt as the Buzzcocks, or the Magnetic Fields’ many superb forays into rhinestone synthpop. These have an exciting awkwardness to them – their cynical imitation of genre formulae feels arrogant and tentative at the same time.

Real-Fake records, meanwhile, include commodity pop and little else. But unlike coca-cola, the secret formula for pop changes weekly, and throwaway commodities soon enough become ‘design classics’. Chart pop is often described as lightweight – a more accurate description would be low-density, because it stays mercifully free of interrogation and interpretation, of the creative traces and authorial intentions that listeners love to cram rock songs with. With rock – the Real-Real – the life being lived through the songs is, vicariously, the artist’s, and not the audience’s. How could it be otherwise, given the Real-Real’s professed indifference to whether anyone’s listening or not? Pop is blanker, but more open too.

The Real-Fake is public domain and ephemeral, which is only to say that the media forgets about it quickly. But the D.J.s remember, and so do the fans. Stick with a Real-Fake song long enough and you might end up its only friend, all its tawdry public meaning now yours and yours alone. That’s why the fan clubs for one-hit-wonders are often more passionate and fulfilling than any Beatles or Stones fandom could be, because they’ve turned the tables, shifted the balance of power from star to consumer.

And finally the Fake-Fake – the Elephant 6 bands, the power-pop perfectionists and bands like Saint Etienne, who get called ironists when they’re really only know-it-alls. Fake-Fake is what happens when pop steps out of its context and into history. It tends to be remarkably enjoyable: its only flaw is its sense of propriety, of – as Josh would have it – “pop as a style” bounded by certain rules. This is a necessary fiction – the only rule in Real-Fake pop is an accountant’s slide rule, but Fake-Fake bands tend not to sell many records – but it’s a fiction nonetheless, and it accounts for so many groups’ entire careers having a slightly fusty, pointless air, like people whose hobby is putting ships into bottles.

Do I really believe that this taxonomy works? Not a jot – although it’s as good as any other system of pop I’ve seen. The only way to define pop is by listening to it, even if for a lot of people, pop is simply whatever they don’t want to listen to. Mutable, capricious, and cash-driven, pop – contemporary pop – is the most compromised, controlled kind of music there is, but it’s also the freest from long-term stylisation of the Wilco/Wynton variety, and its appetite for novelty drives innovation in the musical marketplace (all the fastest-moving scenes from the 50s on have been singles-driven, and so in some way working on the pop model). In the end, we need it as much as, and because, it needs us.

Tom's taxonomy was very influential on my somewhat bluntly popist thinking circa 2000, incidentally. But (and this is not a criticism) it doesn't cleanly apply to groups like The 1975 or Y&Y (or many other groups and artists obv, but stay with me here), who don't really fit into any of its categories - "meaning it" too much to be clearly real-fake or fake-fake but carrying too strong, too obvious and self-acknowledged a whiff of inauthenticity to be real-real or fake-real (which can be inauthentic but is premised on trying to obscure that fact). They've got an extra fake or real chromosome which muddles up the classification process.

So the praise and criticism of each group (at least here) tend to mirror each other in their opposition: haters say, "I see what this music is trying to do but it fails in its attempts, it is a hollow shell of better music", while fans say "this is like a lot of awful music but somehow redeems all those terrible impulses."

Tim F, Tuesday, 27 September 2016 23:43 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah I don't know why I though they were Australian -- sorry.

I don't at all hear the similarities between these acts! Attitudinally, Y&Y sound like Pet Shop Boys without the jokes.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 23:53 (one year ago) Permalink

great post tim

"border" is my sleeper fav, i love how the chorus morphs into this totally unexpected thing. the entire mood of the song shifts so suddenly

k3vin k., Wednesday, 28 September 2016 06:09 (one year ago) Permalink

okay, "memo"

completely obsessed with this album now

k3vin k., Thursday, 29 September 2016 04:30 (one year ago) Permalink

i wanna choreograph a very sad dance to "memo"

― HYPERLINK TO RAP GENIUS (BradNelson), Wednesday, December 16, 2015 2:23 PM (nine months ago)

k3vin k., Thursday, 29 September 2016 04:40 (one year ago) Permalink

OH LOOK SPEAKING OF:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skOAT87JVbU

Tim F, Saturday, 1 October 2016 11:13 (one year ago) Permalink

not good :\

dyl, Sunday, 2 October 2016 17:12 (one year ago) Permalink

i don't hate it but it's pretty generic by their standards

J0rdan S., Sunday, 2 October 2016 21:20 (one year ago) Permalink

Feels to me like Ollie trying to entrench his status as a gay club pop icon. It lacks that air of desperation which makes "Worship" (its closest antecedent, I think) so effective.

Tim F, Monday, 3 October 2016 00:03 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah this song is weirdly balanced. i appreciate that the video is as gay as possible though

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Monday, 3 October 2016 01:26 (one year ago) Permalink

Sounds kind of like a Kylie minogue album track

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Monday, 3 October 2016 18:55 (one year ago) Permalink

I hope it's a bit of a red herring

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Monday, 3 October 2016 18:55 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah i'm assuming it's a one-off for the soundtrack and not suggestive of the kind of stuff they're going to do. the hook is pretty generic but the writing especially is nowhere near the level of some of their best work, which can be so evocative and almost surreal -- to compare choruses describing extreme weather events, for example: "it's shaking the sky, and i'm following lightning / i'll recover if you keep me alive" vs "you hit me like a meteorite"

k3vin k., Monday, 3 October 2016 18:59 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah it strikes me that many of their best lyrics sound like English by non-native speakers.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 3 October 2016 20:23 (one year ago) Permalink

like a lot of recent soundtrack work i think they served an audience of theoretical new listeners something generally pleasing that hews close to their sound but contains less nuance than the songs on their own album

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 4 October 2016 02:50 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

btw this is suuuuch a good road trip album

k3vin k., Wednesday, 4 January 2017 20:48 (one year ago) Permalink

love this record

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 4 January 2017 21:00 (one year ago) Permalink

11-year-old secular sikh student of mine kept singing 'king' when i taught him this winter, was kind of lovely

illbient microtonal poetry Surbiton (imago), Wednesday, 4 January 2017 21:04 (one year ago) Permalink

where rtc at

― k3vin k., Tuesday, 27 September 2016 08:24 Bookmark

it good i liked it. never got the easy breezy slick dance pop vibe from it tho. album aptly titled, very intense, wracked, beseeching, supplicant/domineering/calculating evangelical egotism (some mileage in comparison w/matt 1975 but not a lot)

also curiously totally medieval. good soundtrack for wooden planet spec script alien3 probably

r|t|c, Wednesday, 4 January 2017 21:08 (one year ago) Permalink

it is really medieval

they're recording album 2 now

J0rdan S., Thursday, 5 January 2017 01:35 (one year ago) Permalink

Fascinating adjective.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 5 January 2017 01:36 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

if you guys were wondering who that was bopping out of CVS with a 4pack of toilet paper in his hand, that was me listening to "real"

k3vin k., Tuesday, 9 May 2017 17:41 (one year ago) Permalink

I had been wondering about that

Tim F, Tuesday, 9 May 2017 21:45 (one year ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

#PSEN 0005 - We have received word that the audio sounds of // SANCTIFY --- will be aired on pirate radio station @bbcr1 at 7:30PM GMT by non-sanctioned human @anniemac //.. this is NOT an authorised station in Palo Santo -- report to authorities if you hear this using #SANCTIFY pic.twitter.com/sy5LIYhxOe

— Years & Years (@yearsandyears) March 7, 2018

new song today it seems

k3vin k., Wednesday, 7 March 2018 17:33 (two months ago) Permalink

not sure how i feel about it http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p060dx8y

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 7 March 2018 19:50 (two months ago) Permalink

Olly's hair has not improved.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 March 2018 20:09 (two months ago) Permalink

sounded dece but not like a Hit Single

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, 7 March 2018 21:02 (two months ago) Permalink

it's an all right song!

dyl, Wednesday, 7 March 2018 23:34 (two months ago) Permalink

sounded dece but not like a Hit Single

― Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Wednesday, March 7, 2018 4:02 PM (three hours ago) Bookmark

yeah i agree. it's an interesting little twist on their sound but i'm surprised it's the first single.

J0rdan S., Thursday, 8 March 2018 00:57 (two months ago) Permalink

it can be like one of those singles they made videos for on their first album before "king" that were arresting in some way but obviously not going to be hits

dyl, Thursday, 8 March 2018 02:13 (two months ago) Permalink

I fuck with it, sounds like a very 2000s pop take on a communion album track

k3vin k., Thursday, 8 March 2018 15:52 (two months ago) Permalink

on replay, not super into this

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 8 March 2018 23:43 (two months ago) Permalink

i still kinda like it but it feels to me like a song that could have been on album 1 just w/ slightly different production that doesn't quite do it much favors

J0rdan S., Friday, 9 March 2018 00:14 (two months ago) Permalink

it's a little underwhelming, definitely not the same level than some of their best work...though it's better than "meteorite"

k3vin k., Friday, 9 March 2018 01:38 (two months ago) Permalink

I know it's the way it is, but this strategy of testing and teasing the market with dribs and drabs has the effect of dampening my enthusiasm but idk that's mem.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 March 2018 01:43 (two months ago) Permalink

*me

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 March 2018 01:43 (two months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

july 6th

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 25 April 2018 18:40 (three weeks ago) Permalink

put it in my veins

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Wednesday, 25 April 2018 18:43 (three weeks ago) Permalink

also curiously totally medieval. good soundtrack for wooden planet spec script alien3 probably

― r|t|c, Wednesday, January 4, 2017 2:08 PM (one year ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

god bless rtc

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Wednesday, 25 April 2018 18:44 (three weeks ago) Permalink

already freebasing

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 25 April 2018 19:22 (three weeks ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psn18d-4hBI

not feeling this new single, feels way too twee and like it was written as a commercial jingle?

ufo, Saturday, 12 May 2018 06:35 (one week ago) Permalink

co-written/produced by Steve Mac so that explains that

ufo, Saturday, 12 May 2018 06:37 (one week ago) Permalink

yeeeeeeah... i think the songwriting is great but it almost sounds like a sigala song

J0rdan S., Saturday, 12 May 2018 07:56 (one week ago) Permalink


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