Real

Album: Real EP (2014)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The Robert Francis-Muller directed music video features appearances from Skyfall co-star, Ben Whishaw, former Misfits actor, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and The Imitation Game actress Tuppence Middleton. The band explained to The Line Of Best Fit. "We wanted to see people dancing in the video and create a weird Lynchian-vibe, so we shamelessly made use of (vocalist) Olly (Alexander)'s famous actor friends."

    "It was really nice because Ben, Nathan and Tuppence had all been to our gigs and supported us even when we were playing crappy tiny shows."
  • This was an important song for Years & Years in developing their sound. Olly Alexander told The Sun: "That was a real turning point for this band. I wrote that when I had been dumped by this guy. He was with someone else and then I wrote this song really quickly on the piano."

    "Emre (Turkmen, synths) had the beat that he had made on his laptop and we put the two things together and we were just so excited. We loved the harmony we'd found and it made as to rethink. It was what we needed the rest of the album to sound like. It felt like a real light bulb moment."
  • The song finds Olly Alexander addressing a male lover when he sings, "You do it boy, well." Speaking to Digital Spy, he explained: "It was important for me to get some male pronouns in some of the songs. So I did it for 'Real' and 'Memo,' and then one song on the deluxe. It is kind of sad to me that we don't have gay popstars singing about men using a male pronoun, but that could change hopefully."

    "I'd like to hear a gay artist express their sexuality in a really open way," Alexander added. "That's something I've sort of tried to do a little bit on this album, but to be able to talk about sex is possibly new for gay artists, so I'd like to see that in the mainstream."

    "I've thought a lot about this, that relationship of 'you and I'", he continued. "I think that's just how I learnt to use my voice as a songwriter, like whenever I write a diary because I wanted to hide who I was writing about, it would always be 'you and I'."

    "I can't speak for all gay people," Alexander added. "Because there are so many different issues, and experiences, and different shapes and sizes. But I can speak for myself, and that is what I'm doing."
  • Olly Alexander told NME how the song was inspired by a "really bad relationship" with a former boyfriend. "When I met him, I was really wasted and I fell off a bin and had to go A&E because I sprained my wrist, so I put in the line, 'Broke my phones playing games with you,'" he said. "And then I got this rash, but it wasn't like a sexual rash - honestly! - I had really bad eczema. That's where the line, 'I Itch all night, I Itch for you' comes from."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.

Bill Withers

Bill WithersSongwriter Interviews

Soul music legend Bill Withers on how life experience and the company you keep leads to classic songs like "Lean On Me."

David Paich of Toto

David Paich of TotoSongwriter Interviews

Toto's keyboard player explains the true meaning of "Africa" and talks about working on the Thriller album.

Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Artis the Spoonman

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")Songwriter Interviews

Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.