“YOLO” is a song written and recorded by American comedy hip hop group The Lonely Island with American pop rock singer Adam Levine and hip hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar for The Lonely Island’s upcoming third studio album. The song was released as the lead single from the album on January 25 worldwide outside North America. The single premiered in North America on Saturday Night Live on January 26, and released as a single the following day.
The title and lyrics of the song reference the popular motto and internet meme ”YOLO” (“You Only Live Once”), a phrase dating back to the early 1900s, and highly popularised by Drake and Rick Ross on such songs as “The Motto“, which were intended to promote a mixtape originally titledYOLO. The phrase has since become a Cultural phenomenon, and reworked to be an excuse for irresponsible and outlandish behaviour, but most of the time it is used used sarcastically in this manner.
“YOLO” parodies the phrase, and once again reworks the phrase to mean something else. The song’s lyrics interpret “You Only Live Once” to mean the complete opposite of dangerous and irresponsible behavior, and to instead be over secure and protective of life, in a pessimistic viewpoint. The song urges the public to be fully aware of their surroundings and the hazards of everyday life, since everything, in the writer’s viewpoint, is a threat to life. The lyrics also satire basic knowledge of economical events, dangerous activities and life-threatening events, and make reference to famous or not-so-famous acts done by other famous people or citizens (“Then bury all your money in the backyard like a Beagle“, “Build a bomb shelter basement with titanium walls“).
Recording and production
“YOLO” was written by all performers of the track, The Lonely Island, Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar. The song was produced by Needlz, who had previously worked with Lupe Fiasco and 50 Cent.The song was originally planned to feature Katy Perry, but two weeks before the song was released, this was changed to feature Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine, who was hosting Saturday Night Live the same night, and Kendrick Lamar, who had previously requested NBC to put him in a Saturday Night Live Digital Short or one of it’s many skits. The premiere of the song on SNL also marked the temporary return of Lonely Island frontrunner Andy Samberg, who had left Saturday Night Live the year before, but managed to get an appearance of The Lonely Island for the premiere of the song.
“YOLO” debuted in North America as a Saturday Night Live Digital Short on the January 26, 2013 episode of the sketch comedy television series Saturday Night Live, which saw Levine and Lamar as thehost and musical guest, respectively.Although the music video and single itself were released a day earlier outside the United States, no announcement was made until the Saturday Night Live airing.The single was released in North America on January 27, and in further countries on January 29.
|US Billboard Hot 100
||January 25, 2013||Digital download||Universal Records|
||January 27, 2013|
||January 29, 2013|