Back at It Again With The XX



It’s the year 2009. Decked out in my blue skinny jeans, ugg boots and sundress, t-shirt combo, I am living the eighth-grade dream. As I gaze out the window, I shuffle through the playlists on my iPod, picking the one that would be least embarrassing in case one of my classmates happened to catch a glance of my screen. It was the XX that blared through my headphones, the sleek yet simple album cover making me feel as if I was the chilliest 13-year-old in the room.


“XX”, one of the most successful albums released by the XX, was like a steamy love affair I’ll never forget. Similar to a drug you can’t quit or an addiction you can’t kick, “XX” the album was that equivalent for my pre- teen self. For months it was on repeat, the soothing, silky tunes making me view the world in a softer, and gentler manner. I was hooked.

Flash forward eight years, and the XX has done it again. In late January, they released “I See You”. The album comes with ten songs, each track being better than the last. Though it could be argued they all sound the same, if one gives “I See You” the time needed, they will be pleasantly surprised to find each song comes with it’s own story. Listening to this newly released work was like reawakening my inner eighth grade self. So slap some gold braces on and reinstate those tacky Hollister t-shirts, because I’m throwing it back to the time of hope and national decency.

Even in this glorified finding of the XX’s newly published work, there is a single flaw, a defect within their work. As my musical device transitions from the song “Brave For You” to “On Hold”, my inner Duke Silver is abruptly silenced by noise similar to that of a monkey banging pots together. “On Hold” was popularized by the media, becoming the crown jewel of the new album.

While most will turn the volume up, I turn it down upon hearing this song. Every time I hear the first words sung, or the first string played, I feel as if I was thrown into a corn field, wearing cowboy boots and denim on denim galore. “On Hold” has a country sounding tune, and as an individual who has sworn to never listen to a lick of Blake Shelton or Carrie Underwood, this song goes against all my morals.

“On Hold” strays farthest from the XX’s original roots, their sound least represented in this melody. Change is something that should be embraced, but when an artist strays to far from the sound that they are known for, this can often be an instant turn off.

Despite the one bump experienced while listening to “I See You”, the album overall captures what the XX is about. In the “XX”, what made this original release in 2009 so enjoyable was the instrumental, and ominous sound that was carried through from track 1 to track eleven. Listening to this is as soothing as watching waves crash against the shore. This same feeling was carried through into “I See You”,providing a familiar comfort for those who miss the early 2000’s.

Whether it be 10 dollars on iTunes or through your subscription with Spotify, “I See You” is worth detracting thirty-nine minutes from your day. Plug in your headphones, turn up your speakers and let the XX do the rest. It’s more soothing than Kenny G, and sensual than Barry White. This is better than sex, this is the XX.

Shelby may be reached at
[email protected]