King (song)

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"King"
King - Years & Years (cover).png
Single by Years & Years
from the album Communion
B-sideTCTS Remix (7", CD)
Released3 February 2015
Format
Recorded2014
Genre
Length3:35
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Andy Smith
  • Years & Years
Years & Years singles chronology
"Desire"
(2014)
"King"
(2015)
"Shine"
(2015)

"King" is a song by British synthpop trio Years & Years from their debut studio album Communion. It was originally released as a single on 3 February 2015. The song was released in the United Kingdom as a digital download on 1 March 2015 through Polydor Records.

The song entered at the top of the UK Singles Chart with a combined sales-streaming figure of 101,000 copies, making it Years & Years' first number-one single.[2] Internationally, "King" peaked within the top ten of the charts in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland.

Background[edit]

In an interview with Rolling Stone, frontman Olly Alexander said: "When we recorded [the song], no one felt good about it. It sounds lame! And we could never fix it. We shelved it for awhile. When we came back to it, we just took a different approach: 'Let's try to make it an Eighties dance-pop track.' And we just started out with that, cut it all up, arranged it. Used that balearic flute vibe, like a bird in the forest." Synth player Mikey Goldsworthy revealed that the backing track "[is] actually Olly's voice sampled and fucked up."[3]

"King" was released as the album's fourth single on 27 February 2015. The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, with a combined sales-streaming figure of 101,000 copies, and reached number three on the Irish Singles Chart. Alexander has stated many times that the hit song has a much darker meaning “I was going out with a guy that was kind of a douche bag, but I still really liked him,” explains Olly. “I know lots of people can related to this. It’s a song about how it feels good to be treated badly by someone.” [1]

Critical reception[edit]

"King" received critical acclaim. Billboard included "King" in its "Top 10 Songs of 2015 (So Far)" list in June 2015, stating "U.K. alt-pop trio Years & Years has yet to find a radio foothold in the States, but "King" sounds like it's destined to be played at arenas for years to come. When frontman Olly Alexander extends his arms and cries "Let go, let go, let go of everything" at the end of the single, it's almost impossible not to indulge in some type of uninhibited dance breakdown."[4] Time named "King" the 10th-best song of 2015.[5]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Nadia[6] and choreographed by Ryan Heffington.[6]

The video features Olly in an empty house with a couch being surrounded by backup dancers. The two other band members, Mickey and Emre are playing an electric keyboard in an empty pink room being surrounded by dancers. Olly levitates out of the house and walks down the street with the dancers following him. As they fumble with him, he plunges into an underground river where the dancers rise him back up to the house and they struggle with him until he is able to break them free and learn they were a hallucination.

Live performances and covers[edit]

Carly Rae Jepsen covered the song on BBC Radio 1.

The band have performed the song on multiple TV shows including The Graham Norton Show (10 April), The Voice of Italy (27 May). They also performed the song as part of their set at Radio 1's Big Weekend (23 May), Glastonbury Festival (27 June), Wireless (5 July), T in the Park (11 July) and Latitude Festival (19 July).

In April 2015, Nick Jonas performed an acoustic version of the song during Live Lounge on BBC Radio 1. The song was featured on the accompanied album.[7] In September 2015, Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen covered the song on BBC Radio 1.

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[8]
  1. "King" – 3:34
  • Digital download – Remixes[9]
  1. "King" (The Magician Remix) – 4:00
  2. "King" (TCTS Remix) – 3:45
  3. "King" (Oceaán Remix) – 3:25
  • Digital download – Remixes[10]
  1. "King" (Until the Ribbon Breaks Re-Imagination) – 4:02
  2. "King" (Gryffin Remix) – 4:42
  3. "King" (The Magician Remix) – 4:00
  4. "King" (Arty Remix) – 4:23
  5. "King" (Anevo Remix) – 3:28
  6. "King" (Lenno Remix) – 5:16
  7. "King" (TCTS Remix) – 3:45
  8. "King" (Oceaán Remix) – 3:25

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Ireland 27 February 2015 Digital download Polydor
United Kingdom 1 March 2015
Australia[81]
United States 21 April 2015 Mainstream radio
5 May 2015 Dance radio

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Drake, David (28 July 2015). "Years and Years on Crafting Dance-Pop with Indie-Rock Edge". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Songs of 2015 (So Far)". Billboard.com.
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  6. ^ a b "Premiere: Years And Years Dance Like They're Possessed In Sia-Esque New Music Video". Buzzfeed Music. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  7. ^ ""King (Live from BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge)" from BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge 2015 by Various Artists on iTunes". iTunes Store (United Kingdom).
  8. ^ "iTunes - Music - King - Single by Years & Years". iTunes Store (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 2015-03-09.
  9. ^ "iTunes - Music - King (Remixes) - Single by Years & Years". iTunes Store (United Kingdom).
  10. ^ "King (Remixes) by Years & Years on iTunes". iTunes Store. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
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  73. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Years & Years; 'King')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  74. ^ "Italian single certifications – Years & Years – King" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 7 May 2018. Select "2018" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "King" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  75. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Years & Years – King". Recorded Music NZ.
  76. ^ "Polish single certifications – Years & Years – King" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  77. ^ "Guld/Platina certifiering".
  78. ^ "Years & Years - King (The Magician Remix)".
  79. ^ "British single certifications – Years & Years – King". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type King in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  80. ^ "American single certifications – Years & Years – King". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 March 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  81. ^ "King - single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 11 March 2015.

External links[edit]