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Xx (album)

The meaning of «xx (album)»

xx is the debut album by English indie pop band the xx. It was released on 14 August 2009 by Young Turks, an imprint label of XL Recordings. After signing a record contract with XL, the xx recorded the album from December 2008 to February 2009 at the label's in-house studio in London. The audio engineer Rodaidh McDonald worked with the band during the recording sessions and attempted to reproduce the intimate, unembellished quality of their demos. The band's Jamie Smith produced xx on his laptop and created electronic beats for the songs, which he then mixed in a detailed process with McDonald.

Although the xx had been strongly influenced by R&B acts, the album also drew comparisons from critics to alternative rock, electronica and post-punk sounds. The melancholic songs on xx feature minimalist arrangements and are built around Smith's beats, Oliver Sim's basslines and sparse guitar figures played by Baria Qureshi and Romy Madley Croft, who employed reverb in her lead guitar parts. Most of the songs are sung as low-key duets by Croft and Sim, both of whom wrote emotional lyrics about love, intimacy, loss and desire.

The album received widespread acclaim from critics, many of whom named it one of the year's best records. It sold steadily over its first few years of release, becoming a sleeper hit in the United Kingdom and the United States. Although major media outlets had largely ignored the band at first, and none of its singles became hits, xx benefited commercially from the licensing of its songs to television programmes and the band's Mercury Prize win for the album in 2010.

When Qureshi was dismissed from the group shortly after the album's release, the xx continued to play as a trio on a protracted concert tour that helped increase their fanbase, reputation in the press and confidence as performers. The record proved highly influential in subsequent years, as its distinctive stylistic elements were incorporated by many indie bands and top-selling pop acts. In 2013, xx was ranked number 237 on NME magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

While students at South London's Elliott School in 2005, childhood friends Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim formed the xx with Jamie Smith and Baria Qureshi.[1] Croft and Sim played guitar and bass, respectively, and dueted as the band's vocalists, while Smith programmed electronic beats for their songs and Qureshi doubled as a keyboardist and additional guitarist.[2] During late nights, Croft and Sim either shared lyrics with each other through instant messaging or rehearsed quietly with Smith and Qureshi in their bedrooms so they would not disturb the rest of the household.[3] The xx were greatly influenced by American R&B producers such as The Neptunes and Timbaland, whose minimalist productions incorporated vocal harmonies, clapping percussion, unconventional samples and pronounced beats.[1] The band covered Aaliyah's "Hot Like Fire" (1997), Womack & Womack's "Teardrops" (1988) and other past R&B hits when they performed live and recorded their demos.[4]

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