Eclectic xx Gives Listeners Meditative New Album
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The xx is an easy listening, London-based indie band that formed back in 2008. It began in 2005 as a duo group, consisting of 15-year-old Oliver Sim and Romy Croft. The now four innovative musicians (with the addition of Jamie Smith and Baria Qureshi) came together as friends, and since then they have released two full-length albums. Today they released their second album, Coexist, and it is already gaining much deserved worldwide praise and playing time. The stunning resonance in Croft’s voice guides you through 45 minutes of tranquil artistry where The xx creates music with depth that is admired for its ambiguity. There is no distinct interpretation of each track that is obvious to the listener—instead, listeners may extrapolate their own meaning which allows them to interact personally with the album.
Upon listening to Coexist several times in its entirety, I leisurely shaped my opinion of the dreamlike conglomeration of tracks. The album blends together flawlessly to create background music that complements a weekday routine, most of which students spend alone and walking, working, studying, eating, or thinking. Each action can be completed while the pacifying melodies of The xx flow into your ears, diminish your anxieties, and set you at ease.
Coexist begins with the surreal sounds of keyboard, bass guitar, and Croft’s entrancing female vocals. This first track, “Angels,” is reminiscent of the song “Stars” off their first self-titled album. It incorporates similar passionate and heartbreaking lyrics paired with the simple sounds of trancelike keyboard, unbroken bass guitar, and minimal drum beats. You barely notice as the next track “Chained” begins, until a male voice accompanies Croft, in this dreamlike duet with inspiring musical undertones. These undertones are especially apparent in the upbeat drum beat that lies beneath the song as a whole. It keeps the track moving forward with a dancelike, R&B feel that is bound to be included in a club remix, if it has not been already.
Although there are minimal surprises in musical progression as the album advances, I still particularly enjoyed “Sunset,” a track placed thoughtfully in the middle of the album. It is another upbeat duet that can be placed in the R&B genre. Its sensual but simple lyrics immediately captivate and weaken. The lyrics “And what have you done with the one I love? / When I look into your eyes / I see no surprise” are particularly depressing if one listens too closely, but the words can allow listeners to consider their own experiences with love. As much as this album gives one a sense of ease, it is apparent that it is not meant to leave the listener elated, but instead contemplative.
Nearing the end of the album is one of the few tracks in the mix which led me to advance toward positive thought. The song, titled “Swept Away,” begins slow and soothing with dominant vocals, and as it nears the one minute mark, a catchy drum beat, appealing keyboard chords, and later a comparatively hopeful guitar riff each enter the mix. The smooth transition to the following song is almost indistinguishable. Titled “Our Song,” it ends the album on an optimistic note, telling a story of a supportive couple who may no longer be, but still care deeply for each other. This is blatant in the beginning verse, “All I have / I will give to you / And at times when no one wants to / I will give you me / And we’ll be / Us.” This is simply a beautiful composition of words which show the existence of love between two coexisting characters who speak throughout the entire album. As the final tones fade, you will be released from your meditative state refreshed and ready to take action—but be careful, you may not notice the album begin again as you enter another 45-minute introspective session alone.