The xx releases experimental new album

By Justine Wilson
Staff Writer

British indie-pop trio The xx released its anticipated third album “I See You” on Jan. 13. The band’s prior album, “Coexist,” was released in 2012 and fans eagerly awaited The xx’s return. The band is said to have changed the synth-pop scene forever as its songs are the archetype of current indie pop.

The themes of self-doubt and fragility found on previous albums are explored deeper in the third album. The album is so good that despite its sad undertones, it truly illustrates the band’s growth since its debut.

The album cover for the xx's third album, titled "I See You".
The album cover for the xx’s third album, “I See You”.

The xx’s previous albums focused less on vocals and lyrics. Its songs contained only what most consider to be background music to set the tone and tell the story. This album transitions from some of its older, more synthetic sounds to the epitome of this album: a ballad called “Performance.”

Layered densely with bass, singer-guitarist Romy Madley Croft takes an introspective look into a previous relationship in “Performance.” Meshing both indigenous and complex sounds together, The xx have released what is sure to be a memorable album and possibly one of the best of the year.

The xx are known for creating relaxing music, as many students have encountered The xx on loop on YouTube, which got me through finals. “I See You” is no different, however, it is an enigma as it brings so much raw emotion to the listener.

Jamie ‘xx’ Smith’s new take on synthetic sound may be a product of his solo exploration as an artist, wherein he released “In Colour” that made fans question the band’s status.

Through this album, The xx explored the scary depths of pop music with the soon-to-be radio hit “On Hold.” With Oliver Sim on vocals, the work’s depth is brought to life. The song has a new, but familiar sound, which means it will be stuck in your head for eternity. Still, the song meshed well with Smith’s beats and didn’t lose the signature sound it even added a bit of variety to the album.

“I See You” is as emotionally complex as the creation of the songs themselves. The trio’s exploration through this album is evident, as they branched out to even include horns. In this album, The xx also possesses a more commanding voice, which is seen in the subtly sexual songs “Lips” and “Dangerous” that exude a confidence not yet seen by The xx.

“I See You” is the perfect love story, heartbreak and rebound wrapped up into one album. If you’re looking for something new to listen to, I can say The xx’s “I See You” is like no other. It’s even cured my winter blues.