Review: Years & Years, Crave

Finn Murphy | Music Editor

When Olly Alexander announced that he would be proceeding with Years & Years as a solo project, with bandmates, Emre Türkmen and Mikey Goldsworthy, leaving the band, the last thing I expected to see was frontman Olly in full blue body paint dancing with three elf like creatures, but new track, Crave, gives us just that. 

In a music video that is filled with references and recognisable faces, such as Alexander’s It’s a Sin co-stars Omari Douglas, Nathaniel Hall, and Daniel Carlyle, as well as model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, Years & Years have provided us with a crazy yet iconic song to remember. Parts of the video touch upon religion with imagery of a forbidden fruit and multiple shots of a serpent/snake, as well as ideas that are reminiscent of the Snow-White story with a witch like figure handing over a piece of fruit, but instead of an apple, the fruit is a peach, a fruit generally associated with the buttocks. Alexander digs in with the devilish witch character cackling as he does so.

Poignant lyrics define the song, with the chorus opening with Olly Alexander singing ‘The only thing I crave is the pain from you.’ Interestingly, Alexander said that the song is a ‘daring dance track about leaning into submission to the point of embracing it.’ He says that ‘In the past, [He’s] felt like [he’s] been dominated by toxic relationships, and [he] felt like it would be fun to turn it on its head’. This is evident throughout the song, but particularly as the chorus continues with the line ‘Baby, I don’t ever wanna replace all the heartache/ for a dream come true.’ What Years & Years have done here is clever as they have turned a serious subject matter into a dance track, mixing up what is possible with traditional musical meaning.

The track is the first track to be released as a preview to their new album Night Call that is to be released in early 2022. It will be the third studio album from Years & Years, and if the last two are anything to go by, then this will be a pop music sensation. Fans will be expecting the electropop vibes of Palo Santo and Communion to follow through into the new album, but what will the new album be like as Olly Alexander continues Years & Years on his own? If it is the alien fairy-tale queer sexual fantasy that is Crave, then hopefully fans will be satisfied.

Night Call is set to be released on January 7, 2022, via Polydor Records, and Years & Years’ new single Crave can be found on all major streaming platforms now.

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