I didn't get a chance to follow the Sound of 2015 poll as well as I wish I had but most of the entrants were, let's face it, pretty rubbish. There were only 2 worth your time and those would be Rae Morris (more on her to come) and a pop band. Guess who won?
A POP BAND!
Hailing from London, Years & Years have slowly built their reputation in the underground music community releasing eclectic electro tinged jams since the start of 2014. Their first single "Real" showcased a more indie beach sound that set them up as a successor to bands like Friendly Fires and Fenech-Soler. It wasn't the best they have come up with but it certainly caught everyone's attention.
From the video, we can see that lead singer Olly Alexander already has the charisma and presence to command an audience's attention. And rightly so, he has been a somewhat successful actor, having appeared in Skins among other British television, film, and theatre gigs. Luckily, his distinct voice also places him in the top 10% of men who can actually sing in this world because it is really fantastic.
After flirting with trop-pop on beach single "Take Shelter" and covering a true diva, Blu Cantrell's "Breathe," the group caught my pop antennae when I heard Alexander's silky voice on this sunny single by The Magician.
It's always nice to know that a promising act knows when to dial up the pop and go in the direction of real greatness. With this simple, pulsing house anthem that got to the top 10 in the UK charts, Years & Years set themselves up to take over the world. With the Sound of Poll & BRITS Critics Choice nominations, it seemed that the country would make the right decision and award them to a bonafide pop act after the travesty of last year (sorry not sorry Sam Smith).
Although the BRIT went to James Bay (what has he been up to lately?), Years & Years sealed the deal by releasing the electrifying single "Desire" just before the end of the year. It kept all the tropical R&B influences that were in all their older songs, but finally added a proper drum machine to turn it "Desire" into a proper banger that said "We mean business."
After racking up their first solo hit, Years & Years went on to win The Sound of 2015 poll this year and reestablished the pop centered winners after the 2012 and 2014 debauchery. It looks like they have taken their win in stride as they have an album coming out earlier than later in the year. But if that wasn't enough, the boys only went and topped themselves by releasing one of the biggest hits of the year, "King." Not only is the song a one-listen wonder, it comes with a magnificent, almost Sia-esque music video, with interpretive dancers joining along to take the song to that extra level. Being released on March 1 (a special day for a certain someone on NSOTP...), it's hard to imagine it not going to #1. Make sure to keep your eyes on these guys because it doesn't get much better than this.
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