Northeastern bomb cyclone who? Years & Years are back!!
Three years ago, the English trio – Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen – released their incredible debut album, Communion. It was easily one of the year’s best records, supplying us with gems like “King,” “Shine” and “Desire” among others.
And now, a second serving is finally ready to grace our ears later this year. The first official release taken from Years & Years‘ sophomore album is “Sanctify.” It’s the first single they’ve released since 2016’s “Meteorite” and it’s a seductive, welcome return for the London-based three-piece.
“I’ve had a couple of, let’s say, ‘encounters’ with guys who identify as straight but what has happened between us has been somewhat less than straight, so I wanted to write a song about that particular experience – so that’s what inspired the song’s lyrics,” Olly told BBC Radio 1 during the premiere today (March 6). “When we were in the studio doing this, I kind of wanted to recreate Britney‘s ‘I’m Slave 4 U‘ vibe.”
The track is a sultry, atmospheric production, as Olly‘s voice smoothly glides across moody ‘n minimal drum loops. “You don’t have to be straight with me/ I see what’s underneath your mask/ I’m a man like you, I breathe the rituals of the dancer’s dance,” he seductively echoes. And just wait for the song’s rousing chorus, as Olly‘s voice lifts to euphoric new heights.
“So don’t break (break)/ Sanctify my body with pain (pain)/ Sanctify the love that you crave (crave)/ Oh, and I won’t, and I won’t, and I won’t be ashamed/ Sanctify my sins when I pray/ When I pray.” As a first impression, this is a terribly exciting sign of what’s to come.
“I want to take people on a wild and wonderful adventure through my dreams to a world that’s very different from our own,” Olly explained about the accompanying music video. “I’ve been thinking about this place for a long time, a place to tell stories from; about identity, sexuality, celebrity and performance. The video for “Sanctify” centers around an audition against the backdrop of a future metropolis called Palo Santo. It’s the first part of a bigger jigsaw puzzle and my hope is that it confuses the hell out of people but also excites them in a mysterious and sensual way. We’ve deliberately hidden lots of different meanings and I want people to come up with their own interpretations, I’m asking people to jump down the rabbit hole with me and let their imagination run free. The thing I love most about pop music has always been fantasy and escapism so I thought, ‘well I guess I should try and be the pop star I want to see in the world and make the most ambitious and freaky and sexy thing possible’. I’m making these videos because I want to let people inside my brain and because I love living in my own fantasy world (always have, always will) – a place where sexuality and gender are blurred and magic is real. We live in a chaotic and accelerating world, we’re looking at depictions of the future to help us make sense of what’s happening right now. This is my vision of a possible future, one that makes us question what it means to be a human.”