http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/xx-1346871554.jpg Coexist

The xx


Young Turks
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
September 11, 2012

It's not what the xx put into their music. It's what they leave out. On their second LP, as on their 2009 debut, the Londoners are masters of restraint, building songs from simple chord progressions, delicate guitar and keyboard ostinatos, the gentle rub of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim's his-and-hers croons – and, most of all, from silence. The musical minimalism is matched by the lyrics. The songs are vignettes, about little things – a glance, a gesture, a murmured word – that mark big romantic sea changes. In "Tides," Madley-Croft and Sim sing, "You leave with the tide/And I can't stop you leaving/I can see it in your eyes/Some things have lost their meaning."

Coexist will not surprise old fans. The xx haven't altered their sound, they've refined it, adding a splash of arena-rock guitar here, a clubby 4/4 thump there. There are hints of Timbaland in "Chained" and Prince in "Tides." But, spiritually speaking, they're less funk than soul. Listen to Madley-Croft and Sim duetting on "Our Song": "When no one wants to/I will give you me/And we'll be/Us." They are the pasty English hipster Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway – full of heart and, yes, even a bit of sexiness. For the xx, Coexist is a philosophy.

Listen to Coexist:

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Madame George”

    Van Morrison | 1968

    One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

    More Song Stories entries »