XX album powerful, but only after first three tracks


When I started The XX’s new album “I See You,” I was skeptical.

However, not even halfway through the album, I changed my mind. It’s not because I warmed up to the tracks I had already heard, but because they put the best tracks on the album as songs 6-10.

“Dangerous” starts the album with a mellow, tap-your-toe melody with horns and duo vocals. It’s a decent track, but nothing too noteworthy.

“Say Something Loving” begins with ethereal sounds, the fantasy aura a bit disrupted at first by the clarity of the vocals. It was by this track that I realized how much heavier “I See You” sounds compared to older songs like “Intro.”

The feeling is not so much that this album is more bass-heavy, but that the songs have slower tempos and the singers’ tones seemed to have matured. It creates a darker feel to the album than we’ve seen in the past.

My feelings about the album quickly changed with “A Violent Noise.”

With its lyrics, the song paints a portrait of someone weary and fed up with themselves so much they try to internalize the frustration.

“With every kiss from a friend / with everything I pretend not to feel,” the XX sings, sympathetic to anyone who bottles up their feelings like I do.

“Performance” also stunned me with its poignant lyrics. “If I scream at the top of my lungs / will you hear what I don’t say?” begs with a clear, pitch-perfect, but vulnerable-sounding tone. Hearing “it is a performance / I do it all so / You won’t see my hurting” can resonate with the best of us.

The next track, “Replica,” sounds much more like past XX albums than “I See You” started out. The basic electronic and guitar beats in “Brave For You” and “On Hold” are much more upbeat than the beginning of the album, which makes me wonder why these tracks weren’t spread out a bit more.

Once I got to the fourth track, I was in love. If considering listening to this album, I would suggest putting the tracks on shuffle or starting at item four. I really enjoy this new music, and it’s a shame I didn’t realize it as soon as I put the album on.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)