by Marty Gatto
The xx just dropped a new album, I See You, following 2012’s Coexist. In general, it sounds like an Evanescence album had a child with a Lana Del Rey album, and no, this is in no way a good combination. Most of the songs are weirdly distant, while simultaneously including strong vocals. The only saving grace of the album is its background beats and rhythms, which have always been a strength of The xx.
I See You starts out with “Dangerous,” a track with interesting, repetitive rhythms, but weak vocals. “Say Something Loving” follows, with high-pitched male vocals that match the fast paced background rather well. Next was “Lips,” a slow but strong track. It features both male and female vocals with a strong, danceable beat following behind them. “Lips” is a notably high point of the album. “A Violent Noise” also has a nice, fast pace but is accompanied by somber lyrics and serious voices.
I absolutely hate “Performance.” Unfortunately, it’s quite slow, which means it takes longer to be over. “Replica” came after and was a good example of when the slow vocals of this album worked in tandem with the background rhythms. “Brave For You” was similar to “Performance” in that it exemplified the terrible dreariness of the album.
“On Hold” is truly a great song. With interweaving rhythms that flow into each other smoothly as well as casual, not over-dramatic vocals, the track exemplifies the good parts of I See You. Next was another strong song: “I Dare You.” After all the overuse of the slow,
somber tones, “Test Me” was actually kind of a nice bookend on the whole thing. Though the song is a little empty, it at least reflected a good use of the techniques that earlier did not quite work out well.