From the moment I first heard the single "Crystalized" by the XX, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the album. That song just got deep down inside of me. It is such a fantastic song and is the kind of song that really affects you emotionally. It made me cry I think the first time I heard it, and yet I keep going back to it and can't get it out of my head. It is like the best day of your life that is now only a memory. It becomes tinged with sadness since you know you will never experience that day again and it will only be a memory. I love being nostalgic and I often put experiences too quickly into my memory. Sometimes I make them into memories as they are still happening. When I am having a really great day or experiencing a really magical part of life, I immediately start thinking about how I will remember this moment before it is even over. I know that we often make our memories better than the actual event so I try to reflect on the moment as it is happening to make sure my memory is more accurate. I don't know if all this makes sense, but I am basically comparing this song, this band and this whole album to the greatest memories of the greatest experiences that you have in your life. They are fantastic memories but also have a hint of sadness and tragedy because they are just memories.
The new self titled album by the XX is as good as the single. There is not a bad song on the album. It is actually a pretty simple album. There is really not a lot of stuff going on here. The songs are structured simply and most have male and female vocals trading back and forth. It just comes together beautifully somehow. I have always loved R&B and the darker side of New Wave music, but rarely do the two genres meet. They often couldn't be more different. But XX manages to somehow combine the genres into one magical style of music. I would never call the XX a Goth band but they might appeal to fans of Goth music. They will for sure appeal to anybody who likes Dark Wave or Dream Pop. Fans of Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins, Piano Magic, & For Against will not be disappointed. The music often sounds like The Cure or Joy Division. Maybe like Blonde Redhead's version of Joy Division. But the songs also have the feeling of a really good R&B ballad. Imagine R. Kelly or Aaliyah singing along to a Joy Division song. They totally make it work and I totally have fallen in love with this band. But beware! These songs are not going to make you get up and dance. I doubt they will put a smile on your face. The album is on the dark side. XX is made up of four friends from South West London who are all in their very early 20s, but they seem to have already experienced the whole range of emotions that most of us will ever go through. The album is released on the label Young Turks which has quietly been putting out albums and singles for the last couple of years. This might be the best record it has put out so far.
You really need to experience the XX yourself to properly make up your mind about them. I have not had the chance to see them live yet but I will be going to see them as soon as I can. The album has 11 tracks and it is really hard to pick my favorite song. They all sort of blend into each other to make up one simply perfect album. I probably love "Crystalized" more than anything, but "Heart Skipped A Beat" and "VCR" are also fantastic. "Shelter" and "Night Time" are also two of the better songs on the album. They are for sure two of the darker songs on an album full of darkness. I know I keep saying it, but all the songs are amazing! "Shelter" could easily be a song by Portishead. I always love the contrast of the male and female voice. Some bands just get it perfect. The contrasting voices on this album are often not so contrasting. They are both dark and on the deeper side, but it still works. I am gonna go back and listen to some more XX right now. I can usually only take the album about once a day. It is sort of like the Carpenters...I love them more than anything but their music can sometimes get me down and I can really only handle that about once a day. But don't let that scare you away from listening to this album. The best things in life often come with a bit of heartache, and what is the point of life without the risk of some heartache? This album is for sure worth it. I love it.
here is the video for "Crystalized" by the XX...
and here is the video for "Basic Space" by the XX...
also out this 9/8..
After Robots by Blk Jks
The Good Earth (Reissue) by The Feelies
Crazy Rhythms (Reissue) by The Feelies
Friendly Fires (Deluxe Edition) by Friendly Fires
Get Color by Health
Visitor by Jim O'Rourke
In Prism by Polvo
The Beatles Reissues (Rubber Soul/Abbey Road/Let It Be/Etc...)
also out 9/15...
Central Market by Tyondai Braxton
Keep In Mind Frankenstein by Grand Archives
Man on the Moon by Kid Cudi
Journal For Plague Lovers by Manic Street Preachers
Resistance by Muse
Skinny Jeanz & A Mic by New Boyz
Kamaal the Abstract by the Q-Tip
Temporary Pleasure by Simian Mobile Disco
Ashes Grammar by A Sunny Day In Glasgow
Diary and LP2 by Sunny Day Real Estate (reissues)
Manafon by David Sylvian