The album has been out for a solid week so I’m sure all the hipsters have made their opinions known but here are my opinions on my favorite songs from I See You. Trust, they are good. The songs, I mean, not my opinion.
The xx do it again, bringing pure art and doped jams together with soothing vocals; with Jamie Smith on production and the talented Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim on vocals, their sound comes back full force.
I was told by my more culturally aware peers that no one says hipster anymore. It’s a lame word or something. Or at least, people don’t like being called that ‘cause it insinuates that you’re actually a try-hard. Well fuck that, it will forever be in my vocabulary to describe fresh fools that go against the norm and those that strive to create their own space in this crowded world. To the hipsters of the late 2000s the xx will stay anthem creators of sick hypnotic beats and wonky sounds.
“Dangerous” – Here, the xx decide to change up their game slightly with a more aggressive sound accentuated by an extremely heavy bass kick and some sexy horns. Even adding some high sirens to amp up the mood. It’s like they saying, “Fuck it, let’s go innnnn.” Yeah, I see you guys. I SEE YOU.
“Say Something Loving” – It begins with a sample from the Alessi Brothers, “Before it slips away” which seems to add to the story of common budding romance. We ask that the other confirms our own feelings of affection by saying something loving before our love or theirs “slips away.” Yet, especially when we feel so strongly, we “say something loving” first and perhaps we fear this may drive the other away since we seem emotionally obsessive. Gah, the xx are so damn relatable. I SEE YOU. But I guess they successfully find love cause of the super sexy song that comes after. And though it’s a cliché the xx reaffirm it:
“When I gave up, I found love”
“Lips” – It starts like a sweet caress to the cheek with the ghostly voices and then comes in the hypnotic beat that keeps my ears yearning for more. Have you seen that one movie where Whoopie Goldberg gets possessed by a dude’s ghost and then has intimate clay making time with the dude’s girlfriend and so Whoopie is having intimate time with said girlfriend and thus lesbian kissy kissy goo goo ensues? Yeah… this song has a genius of that level. Even as the intimacy is being played out, I get lost here due to the sheer longing. A desire for the ballad to last forever endlessly overcomes. Some (mainly me) might compare it to the beginnings of puppy love. You know, like the behind the bleachers ‘til sunset sessions.
*wink wink kissy kissy goo goo*-type shit
I SEE YOU, JUST SUCK MY SOUL OUT AND NEVER GIVE IT BACK, XX.
“A Violent Noise” – This one is written by Oliver and is about drinking and partying hard. It seems to draw upon the guilt and despair that comes from partying too hard just to escape the hardships of life instead of confronting them with solutions. And in those moments of drunkenness, the escape even pushes away loved ones and friends. Perhaps with more than just violent noise but even violent actions. The relentless noise through drugs could be getting in the way of feeling the love in those friendships. Yet, those loved ones still hold onto hope and wish that the noise will fade. And of course, before one can separate the noise, one must identify that noise.
“Performance” – This draws on the longing for a loved one, seemingly of the romantic kind since they have left of their own accord. They have left us to play “hide and seek” by ourselves. Unconditional familial love usually doesn’t leave someone so lonely. And so we continue the show and perform the role of a sane and perhaps fulfilled person anyways in hopes of the chance that their love may reawaken when they see that we are independently strong. Perhaps they will come to us when they find themselves weak. Or perhaps we know that the love we feel is not reciprocated and thus even in despair they would not come to our aid and so we need to put ourselves together as best as we can in order to just get through the day.
“The show is wasted on you
So I perform for me”
Ahh, classic unrequited love. Old school songs usually take this as too depressing of a subject and try to make the song more poppy. Here, the xx (mainly Romy) decide to say FUCK IT and just be blatantly sad as fuck. ‘Cause you know, portray them emotions accurately, dammit.
“Replica” – According to the xx, this one is about wanting to not be like one’s parents as one grows up. Go against the mold, as they say. (I mean as I say… Cause they actually say “Break the mold. Or go against the flow.” I actually suggest that you definitely go way from the mold though, cause only fungus I like is psilocybin and maybe shiitake.) Our hubris makes us wish to be different and maybe better, but our genetic makeup forces our hand. Yet we still strive for evolution. And in that spirit, to be different is what connects all of us, every generation. We can all empathize with that rebellious spirit. It’s been the American way since the goddamn 1940’s and just because some asshole Trump got elected doesn’t mean we are just gonna stop that culture. Goddamn, babes you make it so hard to not think you guys are straight up hipsters. Well, if your parents have never made beautiful musical gems then yeah, you diverged through evolution real well. But if you guys are trying to pave your way into a new sound, then it’s a pretty difficult path. To be an artist is to follow the footsteps of a millennia of human work, yet to change that very work according to one’s own image. But since we are all human, our similarities seem to make it impossible to be different when looking at the big picture. However, when we can view all the seemingly minor changes closely a new identity emerges. If you allow various external inspirations to drive your unique internal musical creations, then original work will flow naturally.
“Feels like this song has already been sung
Mirroring situations like you’re an imitation
Do I watch and repeat?
And as if I tried to, I turned out just like you
They all say I will become a replica
Your mistakes were only chemical”
And then the sexiest xylophone-organ melody comes in.
The guitar sounds are similar to Darkside which is AMAZING. With Oliver’s sultry vocals incorporated along with Jamie’s xylophone sounds, reminiscent of his work from In Color’s “Obvs,” this one is definitely on route to a different sound despite their qualms of unoriginality.
“Brave for You” – This one seems to call upon one’s own ability through the inspiration of selflessness. I think of the sacrifice my family or friends have given me, those still living or those that have passed on, and how I can make their effort more meaningful.
“Stand on that stage for you and do the things I’m afraid to do…”
Because that’s how I’ll honor you. I See You stand by me.
“Oh Hold” – This was a single, so self-explanatory. Just edgy enough to show that they developed a slightly different sound. The lyricism is what gets you though. One of my homies asked me what I thought it was about. Bruh, do I seem like the type of person that even listens to the lyrics? Actually listening to the lyrics… Now that’s some hipster shit right there. Nah bruh, I just hear the beat and nod my stupid head. So, in order to impress the homie, I tried to act slightly more sophisticated than I am and said, “I think it’s about a relationship that was going through a rough patch and so they went “On Hold,” but then they fell out even more so now they’re longing for the past.” I SEE YOU homie… trying to make me question my own tastes in music. He was probably like, Does this guy even really listen to the xx, or is he just following hype and trying to impress me? NEWS FLASH BUDDY, it’s all the above.
“I Dare You” – Quick heart pounding drum beats along with their signature eerie synths, this gem is a throwback to the basics that make the xx so well received. Ending with a calm nostalgic guitar riff, it’s almost like they’re confidently and nonchalantly daring anyone brave enough to challenge their rightful ownership of this wonderful sound. Though, what they might really be doing here is urging other artists to find their own sound like they have and really develop it to create a sound that transcends even lyrics… something that catches the artists’ intended emotions in its most primal form.
“Test Me” – This one is supposedly about the group’s friendship dynamic. Apparently, they had distanced themselves from each other but through this song, they bring up that issue and suggest that there is a possible solution to that problem. They want to work through it together and despite being afraid that bringing up that problem might cause further distancing in friendship, they know that it is possible to mend it with the right kind of communication. That communication is through their song writing.
“Test me, see if I stay
How could I walk the other way?”
No, you stay and you figure it out. Cause that’s what homies do even if it feels difficult. Perhaps knowing that the problem is strong enough to cause someone to pour their heart into a song softens the tensions because it shows that they truly are having issues and thus are crying for help and understanding. Thus, it allows the friends to discuss in a constructive manner. And as if Jamie is the mediator between Romy and Oliver, his lovely instrumental plays out while they singers take a break and listen to one another’s silent thoughts of understanding. It seems the meaning behind this album is that they actually see each other and that they want to understand one another and reaffirm one another’s existence and importance.
“Naive” – This here is a bonus track that continues “Violent Noise” and speaks about Oliver’s drinking problem. He decides that the drinking is definitely a problem yet he doesn’t address it and so it kills him slowly. He chooses to be “Naïve” about it. Even when his friends address it, he plays it off with, “Can’t they see I’m having fun?” But in the end, he knows he’s just lying to himself. Demons haunt everyone, but as long as you have Angels by your side to pull you out the ignorance won’t drown you in that darkness. Luckily for our ears, the xx is a power trio and Oliver has Romy and Jamie by his side. By the way, this apparently samples Drake, but whatever… inspiration is inspiration… I guess.
“Seasons Run” – I always hope that when an album offers it, the bonus is actually good. I mean, it’s the XX so I also have high expectations for them, but this one does it for me. Rain metaphors, sexy guitar riffs, calm bass riffs, some claps, classic xx duets and a few classy violin strings… Okay, maybe I don’t have that high of expectations for them but hey at least I know what I like. And I like this one. I think this one actually portrays the rain as one’s own tears and how it comes with dealing with one’s own emotions.
“The first drop hits my window pane
and emotions start flooding in”
When you feel a lot, emotions seem to just come like the seasons and sometimes those seasons come with sadness and grief, thus tears. However strong you may be, once you let yourself go through the emotions, the clouds will pour relentlessly and you must just let the season pass before you see those clear skies again. Or maybe that’s just my emotional ass.
If any talented souls are out there aiming to challenge the xx in a friendly musical competition, please do. They See You and their ears are waiting. Through the sharing of ideas, new music will emerge. And when that time comes, I will be more than eager to shoot some of my overextended musical opinions.
Thanks for reading this article!
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