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"Ex's & Oh's" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Elle King for her debut studio album, Love Stuff (2015). It was released on September 23, 2014 as King's debut solo single and the album's lead single via RCA Records. The song achieved success in the rock genre, peaking at number 1 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart, and later crossed over to adult pop radio.

In June 2015, "Ex's & Oh's" was certified Gold by Music Canada; it has since been certified double Platinum. "Ex's & Oh's" reached the top of the Alternative Songs chart in September 2015, becoming only the second song by a solo female to reach the top since 1996 after Lorde achieved the feat in 2013 with "Royals". The song also became King's first and only top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 to date. It also charted moderately well internationally, attaining top-10 peaks in Australia, Austria, and New Zealand, amongst others.

"Ex's & Oh's" received two nominations at the 58th Grammy Awards: Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.


"Ex's & Oh's" is an uptempo pop rock, blues rock,alternative rock, with elements of Southern rock, and a swing beat. The song was written by Elle King with the song's producer, Dave Bassett, and King credits him with helping her shape the sound of the album. Its instrumentation includes the banjo, guitar and drums and is influenced by country music. The song's lyrics describe the narrator's past relationships with needy men and her tendency to "[chew] men up and eat them." King describes how her ex-boyfriends are like ghosts; they always want to come back to haunt her. She also explains how her feelings toward her boyfriends quickly shift and her carelessness over the relationship. According to, the song is written in E minor.

Critical reception[]

"Ex's & Oh's" received acclaim from many music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic labelled the song one of the highlights of Love Stuff, writing, "When King walks a fine line between rock crunch and soul testifying, there's some fire."[1] Entertainment blog Renowned for Sound rated the song 4.5 stars out of 5; reviewer Marcus Floyd praised both King's storytelling ability and the song's catchy production, saying: ".. it just has this attractive sound that makes you want to hear it again and again".[2] Bradley Stern wrote a very positive review of the song for MuuMuse in which he described the song as "ballsy, brash and profoundly #unapologetic."[3]

Music video[]

The music video for "Ex's & Oh's" premiered on May 1, 2015.[4] The video, directed by Michael Maxxis, begins with King's character kicking her boyfriend, played by Thom Glant, out of their car in the middle of a desert, and then focuses largely on a barbecue party and other recreational activities at King's trailer campsite in the desert. The video occasionally cuts back to King's boyfriend trying to find her, which he eventually does. Featuring many scantily clad male characters and scenes with clear sexual innuendos, the video inverts the objectification of women common in contemporary music videos, and has been praised by critics for this role reversal.[5][6]

Live performances[]

  • October 22, 2014 in Brooklyn for Paste Magazine.[7][8]
  • February 17, 2015 on The Today Show.[9]
  • April 3, 2015 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[10]
  • October 26, 2015 on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
  • December 16, 2015 on TFI Friday Christmas Special in the UK.
  • December 19, 2015 on Dermot O'Leary, BBC Radio 2[11]
  • December 31, 2015 on ABC's yearly broadcast of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. She was part of the pre-recorded portion that is broadcast from Hollywood, California.
  • January 22, 2016 on BBC's The Graham Norton Show in the UK.[12]
  1. Love Stuff - Elle King. All Media Network. Retrieved on May 21, 2015.
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named renowned-for-sound
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named muumuse
  4. Elle King - Ex's & Oh's (Official Video). YouTube (May 1, 2015). Retrieved on May 21, 2015.
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CBC-music
  6. Wass, Mike (May 1, 2015). "Elle King Turns The Tables In Raunchy "Ex’s & Oh’s" Video: Watch". Idolator. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  7. YouTube - Elle King - Ex's And Oh's - 10/22/2014 - the Living Room, Brooklyn NY
  8. PasteMagazine - Song Premiere Elle King - Ex's & Oh's
  9. Elle King performs 'Ex's & Oh's' on TODAY. NBC (February 15, 2015). Retrieved on May 21, 2015.
  10. Stern, Bradley (April 6, 2015). "Elle King Performs "Ex’s & Oh’s" On ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon': Watch". Idolator. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  11. Guy Garvey, Elle King and the Choir of Angels. BBC Radio (December 19, 2015).
  12. Episode 15, Series 18, The Graham Norton Show - BBC One. Retrieved on August 1, 2017.