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Years & Years: Communion Album Review

There is music that makes you want to get up, dance, and move your body. It’s the music you hear when you’re out at a club and feel a sudden urge to bring out your painfully killer dance moves. It’s upbeat, lively, and gives your soul a taste of impulse. Then, there is music that feeds your emotions. It’s the music that you just want to sit and nod along to the lyrics. It’s mesmerizing. It sends chills down your spine and causes goosebumps to scatter across your arms. It’s music that makes you feel something. Years & Years, a rising electro-pop, London-based trio, has somehow managed to capture both elements with their debut album, Communion, which was just released this past July. Best put, they have created what they like to call “music you can dance and cry to.”
Communion begins with an eerie track that can easily be compared to that of The Weeknd. “Foundation” carries the perfect amount of depth and mystery to allow each listener to subtly ease in to the rest of the emotionally-driven album. Although it may appear to be easy to get lost in the midst of the upbeat, dancehall-like tempo of their tracks, their lyrics convey deeper themes of desperation, uncertainty, loss of identity, fear and doubt. Their grotesque take on struggle shine light on the dark realities of life we can all relate to and their voices give beauty to thoughts we tend to filter out when we speak.
The album continues with tracks such as “Real” and “Take Shelter,” which elicit the naked truth of shame that burdens desire, whereas “Eyes Shut” speaks of how we sometimes intentionally blind ourselves from the realities of situations, especially when it comes to love. “Nothing’s gonna hurt me with my eyes shut / I can see through them” is a line from the chorus relaying the message of how we get caught up in our fallacious ways in an attempt to trick our own minds, but in the end, there is no way to truly fool ourselves.
Their most well-known single, “King,” reached great heights, rolling in at #1 on the UK singles chart. Lead singer, Olly, mentioned in an interview that this song was written during two different stages in his life. With that, this track embodies the nature of a toxic relationship, needing the other to let you go as it seems beyond the bounds of possibility to do it yourself. Slow verses and dark melodies flood this song, further revealing the dispute of resistance.
“Shine” is the only track on the album where the lyrics match the buoyant vibe, and it just so happens to be one of my favorites! It’s difficult to not feel joy with a song that celebrates the conquer of a longstanding battle, especially after listening to the rest of their music. Although this track appears to be perfectly placed in the album to keep the melancholy music from becoming too burdensome for the listener, Years & Years have collectively mastered the balancing act of light melodies and heavy words with the use of pure vulnerability. Communion is an album that showcases music as an art form, something both beautiful and tragic.
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