La La La (Naughty Boy song)

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"La La La"
La La La cover.png
Single by Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith
from the album Hotel Cabana
Released 18 May 2013 (2013-05-18)
Format Digital download
Studio
Genre
Length 3:42
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Naughty Boy
  • Komi
  • Mojam (co.)
Naughty Boy singles chronology
"Wonder"
(2012)
"La La La"
(2013)
"Lifted"
(2013)

"Wonder"
(2012)
"La La La"
(2013)
"Lifted"
(2013)
Sam Smith singles chronology
"Lay Me Down"
(2013) Lay Me Down2013
"La La La"
(2013) La La La2013
"When It's Alright"
(2013) When It's Alright2013
Music video
"La La La" on YouTube

"La La La" is a song released by British record 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) and it appears on the deluxe version of Smith's debut album In the Lonely Hour (2014). The track reached number one on the music charts for 26 countries, including the UK Singles Chart. Upon its 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, the song was the sixth fastest-selling single of the year in the UK, selling 145,000 copies in the first week.[4]

The 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 Mbabazi, 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 Fm—Cm—Bm followed for most of the song, and Sam Smith's vocals range two octaves, from C4 to C6. The song performs in common time at a tempo of 126 beats per minute. The track has tones of liquid drum and bass and old-school garage, and a hook layered with a Hindi and Bollywood vocal sample.[11]

Release[edit]

"La La La" premiered on BBC Radio 1Xtra in May 2013.[12] Smith and Naughty Boy performed "La La La" at the 2013 Jingle Bell Ball held by Global Radio.[13]

The track's producer and co-writer Komi also released a remix ("La La La" – Komi and JL remix) which received considerable airplay.[14]

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.[15] 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)[16] and shot in four 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 Tío and that both legends influenced the concept of the video.[17]

Synopsis of the video[edit]

The video starts with the opening of a door marked with the number 1111, a number related to be a sign of change. In the music video,[15] 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. This man could be the representation of the "Ekeko", a South American figure representative of good luck and abundance. 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 bird's 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, in what is inferred to be La Paz, Bolivia, 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; this man looks like a disgraced "Ekeko." 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. The leader 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 an ice cream vendor on the street; a popular figure easy to find on the streets of some South American cities. 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. Echoing the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, the man now has a heart. The boy then looks onto the road and sees a traffic policeman dressed in an unusually colored police uniform with an elephant-like mask covering his face. His uniform, as well as his exaggerated nose and ears, are made of herringbone tweed. The traffic policeman is dancing as he directs traffic, but the cars and pedestrians seem to ignore him. The boy once again mimes plugging his ears to the policeman, who then performs the gestures himself. This figure is reminiscent of artists and clowns who often perform on the streets in South American cities for money. The three leave together with the dog, 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 takes them across long 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 an abandoned mine. Leaving the dog tied at the entrance, they enter the mine. They discover El Tío 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 walking away from the mine.[citation needed]

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.[18]

Accolades[edit]

It won in both the "Best Song" and "Best Video" categories at the 2013 MOBO Awards.[19][20] The song was nominated for a 2014 BRIT Award for Best British Single.[21]

Commercial performance[edit]

"La La La" was announced to be the fifth biggest-selling song of 2013 in the United Kingdom.[22] Its video was the eighth most popular YouTube video of 2013, and the United Kingdom's top trending video of the year.[23] By September 2017, it had sold 1.07 million copies in the UK.[24] In the United States, it reached number nine on the Billboard Pop Digital Songs chart.[25]

Usage in media[edit]

The frame between the 1:30 and 1:31 which shows the young boy at the gym with his fingers in his ears was used in a campaign against the use of a certain type of dangerous firework called "Pokerata" in the Peruvian National Police's Facebook account.[26] However, none of the major radio stations in Peru have aired or actually airs the song. In July 2017, a remix by DJ Speaker was used as the intro to the No Days Roff video, "SO MANY TO TRY!".

Track listing[edit]

Digital download
No.TitleLength
1."La La La" (featuring Sam Smith)3:40
2."La La La" (Komi and JL Remix)3:40
3."La La La" (Kaos Remix)3:54
4."La La La" (Pále Remix)5:34
5."La La La" (DEVolution Remix)5:47
6."La La La" (My Nu Leng Remix)5:00
US digital download[27]
No.TitleLength
1."La La La" (featuring Sam Smith)3:41

Credits[edit]

Recording[6]
Personnel[6]
  • 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

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Format Label
United Kingdom 19 May 2013[122] Digital download
Canada 15 October 2013[123]
United States 10 December 2013[27][124] Capitol
14 January 2014[125] Contemporary hit radio

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]