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The XX’s “I See You” brings both new, old beats

Livvy Cohen, Staff Writer

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A fan-favorite in the alternative scene since their debut album “xx” in 2009, English indie pop band The XX have returned with their third album creating a new and fresher sound. This trio, made up of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, and Jamie Smith, are stepping out of their shell and bringing a louder and more party-like theme with “I See You.” The XX are growing as musicians and it is evident with this release.

Opening the album with “Dangerous,” the album kick offs with a large brass sound. More pop than their quiet, minimalist and introverted past two productions, this start to the album held hope for an exciting new sound from the band. The beat mixed with the vocals and brass of this song create a strong dance tune.

Keeping the trend of smooth and strong beats, “Say Something Loving” is a heart aching track about the want and need of affection from one another. The emotional lyrics in a duet of blended drum and synth heavy rhythm forms a continuation of this bold new change from The XX.

While listening for the first time, “Lips” sounds almost unrecognizable at the start. Beginning with a choir, this was an entirely new sound from The XX at first. It then quickly entered a familiar beat and voice of past albums. With sounds of xylophones, synths, and lead singer Croft’s soothing high-pitched voice, this added up to create the sound that most fans know from this trio. While this album was a nice contrast from past creations, this song takes it back home with the original sound of The XX.

Topping the album with the most emotion in a song is “Performance.” There was a strong portrayal of emotions and heartbreak through the duration of this album, especially with this track. ‘You won’t see my hurting/When my heart it breaks/I’ll put on a performance/I’ll put on a brave face,’ Croft sings with an aching tone. Singing of putting on a smile through tough times, this song is emotional both lyrically and just by the sound of the rhythm.

Following is my favorite off the album, “Replica.” The beat of this song lays it out in the beginning for a compelling and passionate song. With the sounds of synth layered marimbas, Sim sings, “Do I chase the night or does the night chase me?” The chorus followed by this sound of marimbas adds up to form a perfect track of sentiment and innovation of The XX.

Keeping with the trend of creative and notable beats in these tracks, “I Dare You” is a poppy song that was released as the second single as promotion for this band. Before the release of this album, this song presented a new sound from the band that fans anticipated. Following the release of this album, this song fit perfectly amongst the electrifying new sound of this album.

Finalizing the club-worthy album is a slowed down and quiet track, consisting of lonesome pianos, brass, synths and a duet between Croft and Sim. A calm conclusion to this album, it features aspects of Jamie Smith’s side project, Jamie XX with high pitched synths. The blend of all members’ ideas is extremely apparent in this track, as it is in the entirety of “I See You.” 

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The XX’s “I See You” brings both new, old beats