Years & Years offers an ethereal experience with “Palo Santo”

Jessica Leydet, Social Media Editor

British electro-pop group Years & Years released their sophomore album, “Palo Santo,” on July 6, 2018. This album along with their previous album, “Communion,” are thematically transcendent. In other words, it is like a religious experience for your ears. The new album really focuses on spiritual cleansing—so get ready for this musical therapy session.

“If You’re Over Me” is a song about how toxic it is to rekindle an old flame. The lyrics, “You tell everyone our love went cold/Going ’round, spreading the word, it’s over/If that’s how you feel then you should go/Don’t come around saying, ‘I still want you’” are a great example of why you should just leave former flames in the past. The tune describes an emotionally draining ex-with-benefits situation. The song’s catchy chorus alone getting stuck in your head serves as the perfect reminder why you should cut all ties.

The title-track, “Palo Santo,” is one of my favorites on the album. “Palo Santo” translates from Spanish as “Holy Wood” which is essentially just what indigenous Inca culture perceived it to be. The wood originates from a holy tree in South America and is used for spiritual cleansing. The song is intensely sultry. It is like experiencing secondhand someone’s attempt to not succumb to their darkest desire. With the lyrics so deep, the rhythm is pleasantly light.

The songs “Sanctify” and “Howl” are rumored to be about lead singer Olly Alexander’s coming out experience and his past of falling for guys who were still struggling with their sexuality. “Sanctify” has suggestive lyrics that truly embody Alexander’s confidence and strength in who he is: “You don’t have to be straight with me/I see what’s underneath your mask.” The song “Howl” paints the picture of when he was young, timid and in search of his voice: “So help me God/Where am I now?/I cut my hair/I shot them down/Can you hear, can you hear, can you hear me howl?”

“Here” is really heartfelt and—I won’t lie—it will definitely have you crying in the club. The vocals are comparable to an open wound; you can feel the pain in his voice, and the lyrics are just as raw. The lines, “Oh baby, you’re so independent/You’re on the drug of a Gemini cusp/Turn it up louder, spit on that cut” are perfectly uninhibited.

I love what Years & Years are contributing to the pop genre. I typically don’t go for pop music unless it’s something that is eccentric or unmatched. I found myself lost in the ethereal atmosphere that this album was able to conjure with great lyrical imagery and Alexander’s soft vocals.

Rating: 5/5 stars