YOLO (song)

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"YOLO"
Single by The Lonely Island featuring Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar
from the album The Wack Album
B-side "YOLO" (Sam F. Remix)
Released January 25, 2013 (2013-01-25)
Format Digital download, 7"
Recorded 2012
Genre Comedy hip hop
Length 3:08
Label Republic
Writer(s) Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Adam Levine, Kendrick Lamar, Khari Cain
Producer(s) Needlz
The Lonely Island singles chronology
"3-Way (The Golden Rule)"
(2011)
"YOLO"
(2013)
Adam Levine chronology
"My Life"
(2012)
"YOLO"
(2013)
Kendrick Lamar singles chronology
"Poetic Justice"
(2013)
"YOLO"
(2013)
"How Many Drinks?"
(2013)
Music video
"YOLO" on YouTube

"YOLO" is a song written and recorded by American comedy hip hop group The Lonely Island with American pop rock singer Adam Levine and hip hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar for The Lonely Island's third studio album The Wack Album.[1] The song was released as the lead single from the album on January 25, 2013, worldwide outside North America. The single premiered in North America on Saturday Night Live on January 26, and released as a single the following day.[2]

The track samples "Whirring" by The Joy Formidable.

Background and composition[edit]

The sarcastic lyrics of "YOLO" draws the complete opposite meaning of the "You Only Live Once" phrase.

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The title and lyrics of the song reference the popular motto and internet meme "YOLO" ("You Only Live Once"), a phrase dating back to the early 1900s and highly popularised by Drake and Rick Ross on such songs as "The Motto", which were intended to promote a mixtape originally titled YOLO.[3][4] The phrase has since become a cultural phenomenon and has been reworked to be an excuse for irresponsible and outlandish behaviour, but most of the time it is used sarcastically in this manner.[5]

"YOLO" parodies the phrase, and once again reworks the phrase to mean something else. The song's lyrics interpret "You Only Live Once" to mean the complete opposite of dangerous and irresponsible behavior, and to instead be over secure and protective of life, in a pessimistic viewpoint. The song urges the public to be fully aware of their surroundings and the hazards of everyday life, since everything, in the writer's viewpoint, is a threat to life. The lyrics also satire basic knowledge of economical events, dangerous activities and life-threatening events, and make reference to famous or not-so-famous acts done by other famous people or citizens ("Then bury all your money in the backyard like a Beagle", "Build a bomb shelter basement with titanium walls"). The song further parodies the acronym of YOLO at the end from "You Only Live Once" to You Oughta Look Out.

Recording and production[edit]

"YOLO" was written by all performers of the track, The Lonely Island, Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar. The song was produced by Needlz, who had previously worked with Lupe Fiasco and 50 Cent.[6] The song was originally planned to feature Katy Perry,[6] but two weeks before the song was released, this was changed to feature Maroon 5's Adam Levine, who was hosting Saturday Night Live the same night, and Kendrick Lamar, who had previously requested NBC to put him in a Saturday Night Live Digital Short or one of its many skits.[7] The premiere of the song on SNL also marked the temporary return of Lonely Island frontrunner Andy Samberg, who had left Saturday Night Live the year before, but managed to get an appearance of The Lonely Island for the premiere of the song.[8]

Release[edit]

"YOLO" debuted in North America as a Saturday Night Live Digital Short on the January 26, 2013 episode of the sketch comedy television series Saturday Night Live, which saw Levine and Lamar as the host and musical guest, respectively.[9] Although the music video and single itself were released a day earlier outside the United States, no announcement was made until the Saturday Night Live airing.[10] The single was released in North America on January 27, and in further countries on January 29.[11]

Rolling Stone named it one of the 100 best songs of 2013.[12]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[2]
No. Title Length
1. "YOLO"   3:08
7"[13]
No. Title Length
1. "YOLO"   3:08
2. "YOLO (Sam F. Remix)"    

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[14] 36
Australia (ARIA)[15] 31
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[16] 26
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 60

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Australia[10] January 25, 2013 Digital download Universal Records
Belgium[19]
Brazil[20]
France[21]
Germany[22]
Ireland[23]
Israel[24]
Japan[25]
Netherlands[26]
New Zealand[27]
South Africa[28]
United Kingdom[29]
Canada[30] January 27, 2013
Mexico[31]
United States[2]
Lebanon[11] January 29, 2013
Australia April 20, 2013[13] 7"
United Kingdom
United States

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SNL: The Lonely Island Returns with a New Digital Short". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes. January 27, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Drake Won't Name Rick Ross Mixtape "YOLO," Calls Phrase "Epidemic"". Fuse. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  4. ^ Roberts, Soraya (2011-12-16). "Zac Efron Adopts Drake’s ‘YOLO’ Motto, as Does Souljaboy". Yahoo! OMG! CA. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  5. ^ "Yolo Meaning – Ever Wondered what Yolo Means?". Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Needlz On Producing The Lonely Island's "YOLO," Submitted Beats For Kanye West & Eminem's New LPs". Hip Hop DX. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Kendrick Lamar And The Lonely Island Spoof ‘YOLO’ On 'Saturday Night Live'". MTV. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Lonely Island's New Song - Yolo, Features Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar (Video)". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "Digital Short: YOLO". NBC.com. January 27, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes AU. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes LB. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  12. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-best-songs-of-2013-20131204/lonely-island-feat-adam-levine-yolo-19691231
  13. ^ a b "Lonely Island - YOLO". 7". Record Store Day. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Lonely Island feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar – YOLO" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  15. ^ "Australian-charts.com – The Lonely Island feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar – YOLO". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  16. ^ "The Lonely Island Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for The Lonely Island.
  17. ^ "Charts.org.nz – The Lonely Island feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar – YOLO". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ "February 16, 2013 (Page 5)". Billboard Hot 100. Billboard. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes BE. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes BR. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes FR. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  22. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes DE. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  23. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes IE. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes IL. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  25. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes JP. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  26. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes NL. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes NZ. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  28. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes ZA. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  29. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes GB. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  30. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes CA. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  31. ^ "Yolo (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar) - Single". iTunes MX. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2013.