Palo Santo

Album: Palo Santo (2018)
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Songfacts®:

  • The Palo Santo album is centered around a dystopian world where androids have taken over and are corralling the last remaining humans on Earth to do their bidding. Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander explained to The Sun: "I want to blow people away. I've always loved sci-fi and fantasy. And pop music is all about escapism, creating different realities and having fun."
  • Before Alexander started on any of the music for Palo Santo he read lots of books and created a scrapbook containing poems, drawings, photographs and other random little gems of inspiration and started scheming. He said: "I began approaching it like I used to do with art projects at school."

    Alexander also began working with Fred Rowson, who has directed several of the band's videos to create a film that took the music and lyrics and themes of the album and set them against a new story. "We basically bounced ideas off each other for a year and then we arrived at Palo Santo," he said.

    "Once we had reached that point, we scrapped all the songs we had and went back to old ones," Alexander added. "Palo Santo was a song we went back to. I always really loved it, but we just didn't know if we were going to use it. It was all a jigsaw puzzle that came together through the concept for the album."
  • The 15-minute Palo Santo film was first teased in April 2018 with a trailer narrated by Dame Judi Dench. It features Thai actor Vithaya Pansringarm who starred opposite Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives. There is also a cameo from actor Ben Whishaw, who previously featured in Years & Years video for "Real."
  • "Palo Santo" is Spanish for "holy wood." Alexander explained to iHeartRadio: "I came across this type of wood, like a stick of wood [called] Palo Santo and then you burn it and it smells good. It's meant to cleanse your space of negative energy and I was just fascinated by that and I loved the way that sounded, so we took the name of it, Palo Santo, and created the universe that the album lives in."

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