McIlwaine, Callum 3/03/17
“I See You” is an album that quite frankly I’m not overly ‘wow’d’ by. I came into this album such a surface level XX listener I cannot even call myself a fan. I knew one song and it was only because it was remixed with a Kanye West song. The album starts out with the track ‘Dangerous’ which, as an opening track works well i believe. With the trumpets and beat being catchy and a high point. However, I feel that the vocal performance is not fantastic, in sections the female vocalist is out of tune (to my ear at least) and I can’t fathom an idea why they would go with out of tune takes on a studio album. It is an odd thing but in the case of the song, it actually sort of works. Which is a sense I gathered from most of the album, it all works in a very unconventional way but it works for them at least.
‘Say Something Loving’ was one of the singles released for the album itself, a song that I personally didn’t mind if it were not for the horribly cliche lyrics, “would you like chips with your cliche?” (Podcast Ep: 04) Musically however, it feels more like a complete song with more thought put into composition over the minimalist and stylistic pieces we are used to from the XX as a band. Back and forth from both singers is an effective technique to drive the feel of the song home. This one was not bad at all, just a little cliche.
“On Hold” is a song that has become more a part of my life through working in retail and hearing it at least once a day. This track is probably the only track that has finally peaked my interest after my initial listen. The track really (for me) only has an interesting chorus with the “on hold” lyrics. The guitar makes a very slight come back and in it’s subtlety is nice. “On Hold” for me is one of the highlights of the album.
I feel this album overall is one that was needed but i think, as an album, will struggle to g anywhere. All with the XX not being the biggest band in the world in honesty and the fact that their album releases are so sporadic and distanced will be something that the XX would need to fix before they break into proper mainstream rather than their loyal fan-base which seems to be where they are stuck, listen to Lauren on the Podcast as a prime example. There are some high points in the album itself, songs like “Replica” and “A Violent Noise” are, for me, quite strong singles and ones that fit the sound the XX are known for, it is a shame that this album, is very mediocre and a little safe. I know this sounds harsh, but as an outsider looking in, I am the kind of person they are trying to sway and for me, this wasn’t swaying me much.