The 7 most unapologetically queer Years & Years moments – including Olly’s epic Glastonbury speech
Years & Years have recently announced a headline tour and it’s going to be a big, queer spectacular.
Olly Alexander will head out to venues across the UK and Ireland in support of his upcoming project Night Call.
Fans can expect costume changes, bops, celebrations of identity and so much more during the show.
Since the group’s debut in 2014, frontman-turned-only-member, Olly Alexander has embraced and showcased his queerness to audiences across the globe.
To mark the tour announcement, we’ve put together some of the most unapologetically queer moments from Years & Years throughout the – er – years. Enjoy!
1. Olly Alexander’s Glastonbury speech
During the group’s Glastonbury set in 2019, Olly Alexander delivered an emotional speech addressing how far there is yet to go in the fight for LGBT+ rights.
He told the crowd, against a giant “queer is beautiful” backdrop: “I spent a lot of time feeling ashamed and now it’s like I’m making up for lost time.
“The only reason I’m able to be up here, is because of all the people that have come before me, that have fought for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
He said that LGBT+ lives “are under a very real threat” going on to add, “I believe there is no true LGBT+ equality until the fight against racism is over, against sexism is over, against ableism, bigotry, climate change.”
It was amazing to see such unapologetic queerness showcased on a big stage like Glastonbury, which has hundreds of thousands of spectators.
2. It’s a Sin reunion
For the most recent single “Crave”, Olly Alexander reunited the cast of It’s a Sin.
The music video features appearances from Omari Douglas, Nathaniel Curtis and David Carlyle from the acclaimed Russell T Davies series, alongside Munroe Bergdorf.
They star in the video as his “forest friends” and it’s safe to say fans of the show were happy to see some of the cast of the show reunite.
The video and song themselves are a steamy, unapologetically queer affair, as Alexander encounters a leather-clad individual who chains him up and whips him as he sings, “the only thing I crave is the pain from you”.
3. The Night Call album cover
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The above track is lifted from Years & Years’ upcoming album Night Call. It marks the first release as an Olly Alexander solo project and the album cover is a stunning visual. It centres Alexander as a mermaid and as someone in the comments wrote: “Ariel who?!”.
Talking about the record he wrote: “I put all my frustration, loneliness, hope, horniness, grief and optimism into making a really fun record I could dance to”.
He’s really giving the gays everything they want with the mystical album cover and sad bops to dance to.
4. BRIT Awards performance with Elton John
Years & Years collaborated with gay icon Elton John to deliver a stunning rendition of Pet Shop Boys’ 1987 hit “It’s a Sin” at the BRIT Awards.
The duo performed the track to audiences at home, reminding them that the fights against HIV is not yet won.
While introducing the pair, John’s husband David Furnish old people watching at home that antiretroviral drugs make HIV undetectable and untransmittable, meaning people with the virus live long, healthy and fulfilled lives.
For the performance, Alexander lay on a grand piano in a black lace outfit and crop top, while John played the piano for a ballad version of the track.
This then transitioned into a synth-filled dance anthem and they were joined on stage by confetti, drag queens and an enormous troupe of dancers for a truly queer and celebratory performance.
Meanwhile the song itself has taken on new meaning since Russell T Davies’ AIDS-era drama of the same name premiered in early 2021, which also starred Olly Alexander.
5. The “Desire” music video
Years & Years remixed the track “Desire” from their debut album which featured fellow bop-maker Tove Lo. Its accompanying music video is an expression of sexuality as diverse bodies undress and intertwine with each other. It was a big, bold, queer move so early on in the then-group’s career, after achieving mainstream chart success.
6. Lil Nas X cover
To mark Pride Month 2021, Years & Years dropped a sultry, acoustic cover of Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, as if the month couldn’t have got any gayer.
Olly Alexander said he had a primal response when he first heard the track, explaining: “I wanted to take off all my clothes and run screaming through the street.”
“The song is already perfect so I just wanted to have fun doing an acoustic version and seeing if I could sing all the parts in my range – which was a challenge, but I love it.”
“Watching Lil Nas X’s ascent has been so exciting and inspirational to myself as a gay artist,” he added.
7. The Kylie Minogue collaborations
Earlier this year Olly Alexander unveiled a remix to his track “Starstruck”, which featured actual Kylie Minogue.
If that wasn’t enough, Kylie then confirmed that Olly would feature on her single “A Second to Midnight”.
For the visuals, the pair dressed up as each other to create an instantly iconic – and adorable – music video. It sees Kylie dressed as Olly, complete with a red-haired wig and Alexander donning Kylie’s blonde wig.
Olly declared it “a literal dream come true” adding “her music has consistently inspired me since I was a kid, she is a true icon I am pinching myself this actually happened!!”.
How to get tickets for Years & Years 2022 tour
Fans can get their hands on tickets from 9am on 5 November via Ticketmaster.
The tour will stop off at venues in Brighton, Bournemouth, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Dublin and Glasgow.
You can find out more info, including prices and presale details in our PinkNews guide.
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