Monday, February 15, 2021

British pop trio Years & Years release cover of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘It’s a Sin’

British pop trio Years & Years have released a cover of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘It’s a Sin’ to accompany the new Channel 4 drama of the same name. The cover turns away from Years & Years usual synth pop sound with a piano led track, allowing space for the lyrics to really resonate with the audience. 

From one synth pop group to another, the passing of the torch here is especially appropriate with both Pet Shop Boys’ and Years & Years being celebrated within the LGBTQ+ community. The lyrics provide an incredibly moving image of what it means to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, expressing that anything and everything you do as an LGBTQ+ person will inevitably be deemed as sinful because of something you cannot change, and frankly shouldn’t have to. 

The original synth-pop stylings of Pet Shop Boys allowed an air of acceptance of this ideology. As if to say ‘I cannot change, I shouldn’t have to and so the show must go on’. However, the melancholy approach of Years & Years provides a certain heart-wrenching sincerity that suggests the defiance of youth has subsided, with 3 decades passing since the original track and the lyrics still ringing true today. 

With Years & Years lead singer Olly Alexander having a focal role in the Channel 4 drama ‘It’s a Sin’, it provides an extra layer of media to really illustrate the message of the track. The series is set in the 1980’s in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, a tragedy that has had especially devastating impact within the LGBTQ+ community to this day. The solo piano that accompanies Alexander through the track really emphasises this through evoking feelings of incredible loneliness and reflection one would inevitably face in a world of bigotry and illness. Particularly in the 80’s when people with AIDS were treated as social pariahs and often viwed as being 'deserving' of the illness due to their sexual orientation.

Overall, the track is truly beautiful. The lyrics are intense in their fragility, with the frankness of the writing landing heavy on the listener. The choice to change genre was masterful and allowed for a more emotionally resonant experience that was somehow equal yet opposite to the original. 

If you still aren’t swayed to give the track a listen, a cut of the profits from the single will be donated to George House Trust, a non-profit organisation in Manchester that helps people living with, or affected by, HIV - so get streaming!

Maisie Thompson



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