Kings & Queens (Ava Max song) - Wikipedia

Kings & Queens (Ava Max song)

"Kings & Queens" is a song by American singer Ava Max, released as the fifth single from her debut studio album Heaven & Hell on March 12, 2020, through Atlantic Records. The song was written by Max, Brett McLaughlin, Desmond Child, Hillary Bernstein, Jakke Erixon, Madison Love, Mimoza Blinsson, Cirkut, and RedOne. The latter two musicians also produced the track, which implemented an electric guitar alongside lyrics about women's empowerment.

"Kings & Queens"
Max is sitting on a throne in front of a cloudy background while holding a metallic sword pointed on the ground. The song's title is positioned above her.
Single by Ava Max
from the album Heaven & Hell
ReleasedMarch 12, 2020 (2020-03-12)
RecordedAugust–September 2019
GenrePop
Length2:42
LabelAtlantic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Ava Max singles chronology
"Alone, Pt. II"
(2019)
"Kings & Queens"
(2020)
"Who's Laughing Now"
(2020)
Music video
"Kings & Queens" on YouTube

"Kings & Queens" received generally favorable reception from critics, who praised the production, guitar solo, and lyricism. The single peaked at number one in Israel, Latvia and Poland, while also charting in the top 10 in Scotland, Switzerland, Norway, the Czech Republic and Belgium. The music video was released on March 27, 2020, and is directed by Isaac Rentz. It features a Khaleesi inspired Max dancing in a heaven-themed throne room alongside a group of dancers, while also feasting at a banquet.

A version of the song featuring Lauv and Saweetie, dubbed "Kings & Queens, Pt. 2", was released on August 6, 2020.

Background and developmentEdit

"Kings & Queens" initially went through ten different iterations which included different melodies and production, before the final version was completed around August to September of 2019.[1] Max wrote the verse and the pre-chorus alongside American songwriter Madison Love, before being given the chorus by Moroccan-Swedish record producer RedOne. The chorus originally just contained the melody, but was reworked in the studio with Leland, Love and Cirkut, where it interpolated Bonnie Tyler's 1986 song "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)", and consequently added Desmond Child to the song's credits as a songwriter.[2][3] Max decided to include the electric guitar in the track to complement the pop electronic sound in her music.[1] She stated that "Kings & Queens" is about how it would be a better place if queens ruled the world,[4] and likened it to her previous song "So Am I", acknowledging that it contained a similar message about women's empowerment.[1]

"Kings & Queens" was first announced on February 27, 2020, where Max confirmed that producers Cirkut and RedOne, alongside songwriter Madison Love were involved with production. She later revealed the song's release date, along with the name and single artwork on March 7, 2020.[5][6] "Kings & Queens" was written by Max, Leland, Child, Hillary Bernstein, Jakke Erixon, Love, Mimoza Blinsson, Cirkut, and RedOne, with the latter two producing the song.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

"Kings & Queens" received generally favorable reviews from critics. Madeline Rothman of MTV News stated that Max sings about "breathing fire, getting a 'royalty high', and calling on men to start championing the queens" with a strong electric guitar solo,[4] while Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone recognized the song's "pulsing verse and a dramatic hook peppered with regal synths", and compared the guitar solo to the discography of Queen.[8] Mike Nied of Idolator noted that the single "highlights Ava’s ability to fill dance floors across the globe".[9] Nicholas Hautman of US Weekly described "Kings & Queens" as "one of the best singles to come out of 2020 so far", praising her "powerful and theatrical vocals" and the glam rock guitar solo after the second verse.[10]

Writing for Uproxx, Caitlin White described the lyrics as "a subtle tribute to the power of women and a call to action for men to support the queens in their life",[11] while Heran Mamo of Billboard acknowledged that it compared chess moves to feminism; "In chess, the king can move one space at a time/ But queens are free to go wherever they like".[12] Soundigest writer Andrew Chinikidiadi praised the transitions of the electric guitar riff into the bridge and the song's ending. However, he lamented the repetition and duration of the track.[3]

Music videoEdit

A visualizer was released along with the song on March 12, 2020,[13] which depicts Max as a queen holding a glass of champagne and sword, with a royal deck of cards.[12] She confirmed on the song's release date that she already filmed the official music video, describing it as "very colorful, super fun, crazy dancing, and a big celebration", and likened it to a rainbow.[4] The music video was released on March 27, 2020, and is directed by Isaac Rentz.[14][15] Max is seen dancing in a heaven-themed throne room with a group of dancers,[15] as she was inspired by Khaleesi from Game of Thrones and wanted to portray an Amazonian queen surrounded by warriors. Max and Rentz used a moodboard to list several ideas for the music video, while also maintaining a feminist theme. She would often text her ideas to him during the night to ensure that it would be perceived as "authentic and personal".[16]

The video opens with Max holding a sword between her legs as she sits on a golden throne. She then organizes a banquet, in which several dancers begin drinking champagne and eating food, before performing a dance sequence. During the pre-bridge guitar solo, the dancers wield electric axes.[17]

Track listingEdit

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from Tidal.[7]

  • Amanda Ava Koci – vocals, songwriting
  • Henry Walter – songwriting, production
  • RedOne – songwriting, production
  • Chris Gehringer – mastering
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Brett McLaughlin – songwriting
  • Desmond Child – songwriting
  • Hillary Bernstein – songwriting
  • Jakke Erixon – songwriting
  • Madison Love – songwriting
  • Mimoza Blinsson – songwriting

ChartsEdit

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[21] 31
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 12
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[23] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[24] 9
Brazil (Top 100 Airplay)[25] 91
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[26] 63
CIS (Tophit)[27] 6
Croatia (HRT)[28] 6
Cyprus (Top 10)[29] 2
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[30] 1
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[31] 7
Estonia (Eesti Tipp-40)[32] 30
Euro Digital Songs (Billboard)[33] 5
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[34] 15
France (SNEP)[35] 32
Germany (Official German Charts)[36] 16
Global 200 (Billboard)[37] 35
Global Excl. US (Billboard)[38] 34
Greece (IFPI)[39] 37
Hungary (Dance Top 40)[40] 1
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[41] 9
Hungary (Single Top 40)[42] 3
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[43] 4
Iceland (Tonlist)[44] 11
Ireland (IRMA)[45] 20
Israel (Media Forest)[46] 1
Italy (FIMI)[47] 38
Latvia (Latvijas Top 40)[48] 1
Lithuania (AGATA)[49] 24
Macedonia (Radiomonitor)[50] 12
Malta (Radiomonitor)[51] 3
Mexico Airplay (Billboard)[52] 23
Namibia (Radiomonitor)[53] 7
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[54] 20
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[55] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[56] 9
North Africa (Radiomonitor)[57] 11
Norway (VG-lista)[58] 7
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[59] 1
Poland (Video Chart)[60] 1
Portugal (AFP)[61] 77
Romania (Airplay 100)[62] 8
Romania (Romania Radio Airplay)[63] 5
Romania (Romania TV Airplay)[64] 14
Russia Airplay (Tophit)[65] 25
Scotland (OCC)[66] 5
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[67] 6
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[68] 16
Slovenia (SloTop50)[69] 5
South Africa (Radiomonitor)[70] 34
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[71] 78
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[72] 21
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[73] 5
Switzerland (Media Control Romandy)[74] 1
Ukraine Airplay (Tophit)[75] 3
UK Singles (OCC)[76] 19
US Billboard Hot 100[77] 57
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[78] 17
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[79] 18
US Rolling Stone Top 100[80] 63

CertificationsEdit

Certifications and sales for "Kings & Queens"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[81] Gold 15,000*
Belgium (BEA)[82] Gold 20,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[83] Platinum 40,000 
Canada (Music Canada)[84] Gold 40,000 
France (SNEP)[85] Gold 100,000 
Germany (BVMI)[86] Gold 200,000 
Italy (FIMI)[87] Gold 35,000 
United Kingdom (BPI)[88] Silver 200,000 

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Release dates and formats for "Kings & Queens"
Region Date Format Version Label Ref.
Various March 12, 2020 Original Atlantic [18]
Italy April 10, 2020 Contemporary hit radio Warner [89]
Various April 22, 2020
  • Digital download
  • streaming
Acoustic Atlantic [19]
April 30, 2020 The Remixes [20]
United States July 7, 2020 Contemporary hit radio Original [90]
Various August 6, 2020
  • Digital download
  • streaming
"Pt. 2" [91]
United States August 10, 2020 Hot adult contemporary radio Original [92]

Kings & Queens, Pt. 2Edit

"Kings & Queens, Pt. 2"
Single by Ava Max featuring Lauv and Saweetie
ReleasedAugust 6, 2020 (2020-08-06)
Recorded2020
GenrePop
Length2:55
LabelAtlantic
Songwriter(s)
  • Amanda Ava Koci
  • Brett McLaughlin
  • Madison Love
  • Henry Walter
  • Nadir Khayat
  • Desmond Child
  • Mimoza Blinsson
  • Hillary Bernstein
  • Jakke Erixon
  • Ari Leff
  • Jacob Kasher Hindlin
  • Derrick Milano
  • Diamonte Harper
Producer(s)
  • Cirkut
  • RedOne
Lauv singles chronology
"Slow Grenade"
(2020)
"Kings & Queens, Pt. 2"
(2020)
"Sweet & Sour"
(2020)
Saweetie singles chronology
"Bussin 2.0"
(2020)
"Kings & Queens, Pt. 2"
(2020)

A remix of the song titled "Kings & Queens, Pt. 2" was released on August 6, 2020. It features singer-songwriter Lauv and American rapper Saweetie.

Composition and lyricsEdit

"Kings & Queens, Pt. 2" incorporates a new second verse from Lauv, who describes the male perspective of being in a relationship with a strong, independent woman. Saweetie also adds a rap verse in the song, continuing the theme of female empowerment.[93][94]

Track listingEdit

Digital download – Kings & Queens, Pt. 2[91]
No.TitleLength
1."Kings & Queens, Pt. 2" (featuring Lauv and Saweetie)2:55

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