I was looking for something different when I came across The xx new album I See You. Another band that hails from England, I would classify The xx as being minimalist, but in a good way. The tone of the album is quiet and contemplative, ranging in themes from loss to heartbreak to self doubt. The opening song “Dangerous” introduces the album with a flurry of horns; it comes across as a dance track with its synthetic notes and upbeat rhythm. After that, the songs slow down, becoming melancholic and introspective at times. “Say Something Loving” is about a relationship that is breaking apart, and the insecurities that come with it. Lead singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim open the song with the lyrics “Say something loving/ I just don’t remember the thrill of affection.” You can hear the longing in their voices, a sound that resonates throughout the album.
My two favorite songs were “Performance” and “Brave For You;” they perfectly showcase Croft’s somber voice and display raw vulnerability in the lyrics, especially as the latter track addresses Croft’s deceased parents. It’s a powerful piece that can resonate with anyone, wanting to be brave for someone who believed in you. The band doesn’t shy away from these weighty emotional issues, as “Test Me” explores Sim’s struggle with alcoholism and the effects that it had on the relationships in the band. The piece is a lovely piano ballad with honest lyrics that don’t hold anything back; Croft and Sim softly sing “Just take it out on me/ It’s easier than saying what you mean/ Test me, see if I break/ Tell me this time you’ve changed.” It’s a perfect closing track that ties the whole album together.
I See You is one of the most chilling, emotional albums I’ve heard in awhile, with a sound that is uniquely their own. It shines a light on the insecurities that we all have, and says that we can find the strength within ourselves to overcome them. If you’re looking for something different, then give this album a listen.