“I See You” heralds new direction for The xx


Indie-rock band The xx released its third album “I See You” on Jan. 13 after a five year hiatus. This new release breaks free from the somber themes in its former albums and brings a myriad of new concepts, from bold statements of positivity to nostalgia-laced love songs.

As the first song in the album, “Dangerous,” failed to reach my expectations. The song begins with a sequence of blaring notes, deep bass riffs and a strong drum beat that remains constant throughout the work. There is little pitch and lyrical variation present, which is somewhat compensated for by the catchy tonal scheme. The lyrics conceptualize seeing past the dangers of falling in love. Although the vocalists’ attempted to harmonize their voices, it seems slightly discordant and almost paled in comparison to the harmonization in other songs in their album including “Say Something Loving.”

“Say Something Loving” begins with strong vocals as it portrays the desire for love. The song is extremely relatable, especially in a generation where we crave affection as much as we do. Throughout the song, the singers harmonize their voices, creating a heartfelt tone that makes the amount of work put into the song evident. Guitars and drums were used as instrumental supplements in the background, as the guitar riffs stayed consistent with the pitch of the singers while the drumming maintained a nice beat beneath the powerful vocals.

“On Hold,” the lead single of the album, evokes a nostalgic feeling within listeners, as The xx reminisces about a failed relationship. While the female voice in the song is soulful, the male voice is slightly repetitive, leaving me feeling mildly bored towards the end. Throughout the piece, there is an underlying electrica mix that is artfully executed. The mix is very effective in revealing the mood of the song, picking up or slowing down depending on the lyrics. I didn’t like how the rapping sounded, as it resembled yelling mixed with an electric beat. Despite this, it is utilized effectively to transition between verses by providing lyrics different from the rest of the work. The rapper proves incapable of fully enunciating words, leaving me confused as to what he is saying.

“A Violent Noise” begins with a series of notes that instill a feeling of melancholy within the listener. The pensive notes carry on across the song, exuding a wistful mood. I would have liked for the instrumental component of the song to be a little less dominating to showcase the singer more, as opposed to highlighting the background mixes. I found the pulsating disco beat to be extremely catchy and felt that it was a good indication of the moods reflected in certain areas of the song. Pauses effectively emphasized the verses that directly followed them.

“I See You” is an album filled with love. Although it is a bit slow paced for my taste, the music’s overall sound was, for the most part, enjoyable and meticulously planned. I absolutely loved “Say Something Loving” with its relatable and heartfelt lyrics. However, I thought “Dangerous” had room for improvement in terms of its variation to keep the audience interested. As my first experience listening to the indie-rock genre, “I See You” did not disappoint. I would recommend this album to anybody who is looking to give this genre a try.    

Written by Isaac Le, Staff writer
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