Years & Years
Olly Alexander isn’t ready to give up cocaine just yet in the thrown “King.”
Rattled synths open the single, setting a denying tone. In the club, he sees someone pass a white package to another person. He’s blind to anything else. His friends told him he will be okay if he quits drugs. But he doesn’t know he how he would feel without it. (“I caught you watching me under the light/Can I be your line?/They say it’s easy to leave you behind/I don’t wanna try.”)
In the pre-chorus, he’s going to try to resist. Since he began taking cocaine, some close have kept him at a distance. His family is disappointed. He turns his head away and continues dancing. (“Cut cover, take that test/Hold courage to your chest/Don’t wanna wait for you/Don’t wanna have to lose/All that I compromised to feel another high/I’ve got to keep it down tonight.”)
In the chorus, the sensation gave him confidence and self-worth. However, he keeps going back despite the ruin it causes. The temptation won’t stop. (“And oh, oh, oh/I was a king under your control/And oh, oh, oh/I wanna feel like you’ve let me go/So let me go.”)
Before he began using, he liked taking risks. Cocaine was one of them. Until he obsessed over it. He wonders, in the long run, if the damage to his life justifies the high. (“Don’t you remember how I used to like/Being on the line?/I dreamed you dreamed of me calling out my name/Is it worth the price?”)
The pre-chorus and chorus are sung again.
In the bridge, he had to reach his lowest point. No food. No money. Stealing from his family. He really doesn’t even want it anymore. He wants to be able to move forward without cocaine in his life. (“I had to break myself to carry on/No love and no admission/Take this from me tonight/Oh, let’s fight/Oh, let’s fight/Oh, let’s fight.”)
The chorus is sung again.
In the final section, he says he wants to start over. (“Let go, let go, let go of everything/Let go, let go, let go of everything/Let go, let go, let go of everything/Let go, let go, let go of everything.”)
Alexander wants out of his addiction. It’s become something he can’t manage. He can only acknowledge that it’s a problem. But he can’t admit to other people yet. He’s lost and searching for some kind of answer. Cocaine, as much he may want it to be, is not.
The authentic “King” appreciates the 80s while not outright copying it.