La La La (Naughty Boy song)

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"La La La"
Single by Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith
from the album Hotel Cabana and In the Lonely Hour
Released 18 May 2013 (2013-05-18)
Format Digital download
Length 3:40
  • Naughty Boy
  • Komi
  • Mojam (co-producer)
Naughty Boy singles chronology
"La La La"
Sam Smith chronology
"Lay Me Down"
"La La La"
"Money on My Mind"

"La La La" is a single released by British producer Naughty Boy, featuring vocals from Sam Smith. It was released on 18 May 2013 as the second single from Naughty Boy's debut album, Hotel Cabana (2013). The track reached number one in 26 countries, including on the UK Singles Chart.

At its time of release it was confirmed by the Official Charts Company as the fastest selling single of 2013 in the UK.[3] By the end of 2013, "La La La" was the sixth fastest-selling single of the year in the UK, selling 145,000 copies in the first week.[4] This song is used as the theme song for the film The Internship.

Production and composition[edit]

According to Naughty Boy, "La La La" was conceived from experiences similar to the song "Don't Speak" by No Doubt, which "came from something [he] felt". He states that, "It was just before everything popped up and she was somebody I neglected while I was trying to find me. When I found me, she found it best to neglect me. It's cool... Covering my ears like a kid and saying, 'La. La. La.' It's the man-kid in me."[5]

"La La La" was written by Khan, Jonny Coffer, Al-Hakam El Kaubaisy, Frobisher Mbabaz, James Murray, Jimmy Napes, Mustafa Omer, and Sam Smith.[6] Although Naughty Boy originally intended to write the song with Emeli Sandé, she was on tour at the time, and he wrote it with Sam Smith instead. Naughty Boy said "It just had to be Sam because where it went from there is perfect.”[7] Naughty Boy and Komi produced the track, with co-production handled by Mojam.[6] The song was produced using Logic Pro, FL Studio 11 and Reason.[8] It was recorded and mixed at Cabana Studios (Ealing Studios) in Ealing, West London, and mastered by Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis Mastering Studios in London, UK.[6] The song was finished in three hours,[9] and was the last done for Hotel Cabana.[10]

"La La La" plays for three minutes and 40 seconds. The piece is performed in F♯ minor, with the chord progression of F♯m—C♯m—D followed for most of the song, and Sam Smith's vocal ranges two octaves in the key of C♯, from a fourth to a sixth octave. The song performs in common time at a tempo of 125 beats per minute.[11]

Music video[edit]

A music video to accompany the release of "La La La" was first released on YouTube on 18 April 2013 at a total length of four minutes and three seconds.[12] The video is directed by Ian Pons Jewell (who studied at the University College for the Creative Arts, now the University for the Creative Arts[13]) and shot in 4 days[9] in La Paz, Salar de Uyuni and Potosí (Cerro Rico), Bolivia. Ian Pons Jewell was commissioned by Virgin EMI to create the concept for the video, which focuses on a child's magical journey. Jewell said that others compared the video to the Wizard of Oz and a local legend of the demon El Tio and that both legends influenced the concept of the video.[14]

Synopsis of the video[edit]

In the music video,[12] a young boy is being verbally abused by a man who is presumably his father. Looking out of his apartment window, he sees an unusually dressed man and his dog standing on the pavement outside. The boy then puts his fingers in his ears and begins singing 'La la la' in response to his father's outburst. Running out of the apartment, the boy joins the mysterious figure outside and pets his dog. Seeing the boy outside, the father picks up an egg from a birds nest on the window-sill and throws it down at the boy.

The boy and dog run away and the scene cuts from evening to daytime. The boy is walking the dog along a city street, and he goes into a store front and downstairs. In the basement of the building, he finds a gymnasium and a scared looking man who is covered in dust. The man holds a stereo which is providing music for a group of women doing aerobics with one woman who is obviously a leader and abuses both the man and the others since their mascara is running down their cheeks from crying. The boy encourages the man to leave, but he appears reluctant. The boy then mimes the act of putting his fingers in his ears and singing 'La la la', and the man responds by turning off the volume on the stereo. One of the women begins yelling at the man, and he puts his fingers in his ears and sings 'La la la' in response to her tirade. The dusty man, boy and dog leave the gymnasium and are followed by the woman who yells after them as they leave.

The pair then come across a vendor on the street. The boy gives him some coins, and he takes out what appears to be a human heart from a collection in his cart. He holds the heart in the air, the boy looks at him and then slips it inside the jacket pocket of the dusty man. The boy then looks onto the road and sees a traffic policeman dressed in an unusually coloured police uniform, made of knitted fabric matching the man's face which is also made of knitted fabric in place of skin. His exaggeratedly-sized nose and ears are also made of knitted fabric. The traffic policeman is dancing as he directs traffic. The boy mimes the ear plugging and singing to the traffic policeman, and he then performs the gestures himself. The three of them leave together, and the scene cuts to their journey into a mountainous region outside of the city. They walk along disused railway tracks and pass a discarded, unplugged television that still shows images on the screen. Their journey then takes them across long, flat plains of salt flats, with the traffic policeman carrying the sleeping boy and the dusty man walking the dog.

The scene cuts to nightfall where they have set up a camp fire. The boy sleeps in the arms of the traffic policeman while the dusty man holds and pats the dog. The scene cuts to the next day, where they walk up a hillside towards a disused mine. Leaving the dog tied up at the entrance, they venture inside the mine. They discover El Tio sitting immobile at the end of a tunnel. At the sight of the figure, the boy begins crying and is hugged and comforted by both men. The men then leave, and the boy remains kneeling before the figure and singing 'La la la' with his fingers in his ears. The video ends with the two men and the dog having left the mine and they are shown walking away.

The legend adapted to the video[edit]

According to Jewell, the video is about a Bolivian oral legend that is related to The Wizard of Oz and dates from the early twentieth century. The history is about a deaf boy who runs away from home, where he received abuse, and finds a vagabond dog that accompanied from that moment. After living on the street for a while, he discovers he has a talent for perceiving the problems of people whom he can heal by giving powerful screams like an earthquake or a tornado. One day, he meets an old man (mason) who was stoned by the villagers, after being mocked and ridiculed. The child, when he shouts, solves his problems and revives the heart of old man -in the video, the boy buys him a new heart-. Together, they then found a disfigured man who was abused and discriminated against by society. This man reveals that he is a prophet cursed by a demon, El Tio, because he stopped adoring him and left the community because it was inhabited by this demon. El Tio is considered the lord of the underworld, to whom mortals give offerings for protection or to soothe his anger. The prophet said that anyone who listens to the devil would fall under his control and that he lives in the desert, where once there was a city that adored him and received a curse, which caused everyone to commit suicide. Together the boy and the old man head towards the residence of the demon, until they reach a mine. There, only the child must deal with the devil, because anyone with intact hearing could be cursed. With his cries he could stop the spirit from cursing other people. The story in the video is unresolved, since the child is left facing the demon, while his companions have gone away.

Critical reception[edit]

Lewis Corner of Digital Spy gave the song a positive review, stating:

As the Wizard of Oz reimagining in the accompanying music video suggests, Naughty Boy is at his best when presenting tales of heartbreak with an otherworldly streak. "Yes our love is running out of time/ I won't count the hours, rather be a coward/ When our words collide," newcomer Sam Smith confesses to his beau over rattling beats and bewitching synths. It results in a soulful, ear-snagging masterpiece that will go down[15]


"La La La" was announced to be the fifth biggest-selling song of 2013 in the United Kingdom.[16] Its video was the eighth most popular YouTube video of 2013, and the United Kingdom's top trending video of the year.[17] It won in both the "Best Song" and "Best Video" categories at the 2013 MOBO Awards.[18][19] The song was nominated for a 2014 BRIT Award for Best British Single.[20]


"La La La" premiered on BBC Radio 1Xtra in May 2013.[21] Smith and Naughty Boy performed "La La La" at the 2013 Jingle Bell Ball held by Global Radio.[22]

The track's producer/co-writer Komi also released a remix ("La La La" - Komi and JL remix) which has received considerable airplay.[23]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download
No. Title Length
1. "La La La" (featuring Sam Smith) 3:40
2. "La La La" (Kaos Remix) 3:54
3. "La La La" (Pále Remix) 5:34
4. "La La La" (DEVolution Remix) 5:47
5. "La La La" (My Nu Leng Remix) 5:00
US digital download[24]
No. Title Length
1. "La La La" (featuring Sam Smith) 3:41


  • Jonny Coffer - songwriter, strings
  • Al-Hakam "Komi" El-Kaubaisy - songwriter, producer, instruments, programming
  • Shahid "Naughty Boy" Khan - songwriter, producer, recording engineer, instruments, programming
  • Wez Clarke - mix engineer



Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[76] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Belgium (BEA)[77] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[78] Gold 40,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[79] Gold 15,000^
Germany (BVMI)[80] Platinum 300,000^
Italy (FIMI)[81] 2× Platinum 60,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[82] Platinum 15,000*
Sweden (GLF)[83] 3× Platinum 120,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[84] Platinum 30,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[85] Platinum 1,000,000[86]
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[87] 4× Platinum 7,200,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[88] Gold 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales/streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format Label
United Kingdom 19 May 2013[89] Digital download
Canada 15 October 2013[90]
United States 10 December 2013[24][91] Capitol Records
14 January 2014[92] Contemporary hit radio


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