This is the time of year when we turn our thoughts to the important matter of what will be this year’s song of the summer, an officialish distinction based on chart success and ubiquity (not to be confused with the more subjective concept of summer jams). No one knows for sure yet what song will claim the title, as Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX’s “Fancy” ended up doing last year, but I’m putting out into the universe that I think it should be “King” by Years & Years.
“King” has already been a hit all over Europe, especially Years & Years’s native land, the UK, where the song debuted at No. 1 in March. If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, certainly one country’s spring smash can be another country’s song of summer. I think this song has it all. The lyric is weird. The voice of Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander is curiously both intense and gentle. The hook on this thing is tenacious—I’ve found myself unable to unhear it since stumbling upon it on South Jersey radio this weekend. Sonically, it’s somewhere between synth pop throwback and the kind of dance pop that is currently termed “deep house” in the UK—a barely updated but slightly more shallow version of the kind of moody soulful house that MK and his ilk were turning out in the early-to-mid-’90s (in fact, MK had his own UK No. 1 in 2013 with a remix of Storm Queen’s “Look Right Through”).
(Also I know that flutey-and-bongo-ish Masters at Work-type stuff is also called “deep house” by many—that subgenre always struck me as being pretty subjectively defined. It, like all house, is based mostly on a feeling.)
Chances are that at some point, deep house, as it’s currently known and made, will break over here (Disclosure are quite popular though their biggest hit, “Latch,” doesn’t qualify as deep house). I think “King” will be the song to do it. It is the kind of masterfully undeniable earworm that we are blessed with only on occasion. I only want to listen to this song on beaches for the next four months. I have a feeling that I am not alone, or that I won’t be very soon.