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"On Hold" - The Xx

I had a friend once tell me, "You know, Britt, even though you have a blog called "The Useless Critic" - I rarely see you be critical. You typically praise things."

Hold up. That's about to change (and, yes, pun intended in the previous sentence).

The Xx is a band I've adored for years and been pleased to see popping up again in my news and social media feeds. Their first album was a modern indie classic (wow that sentence was gross to type) and their second album was a tour de force in its own way, a remarkable follow-up. Even their song for the Gatsby soundtrack, "Together," still sends chills up my spine.

But. But. But.

All great artists are capable of dropping their brush at least once. And maybe every great football player trips right before scoring a game-winning touchdown, too (I don't know, I don't know sports). So the fact that Xx released "On Hold" was only a matter of statistics not in their favor more than a warning sign of decreasing talent.


"On Hold" feels like a ghost of an Xx song. Or what some people might term "phoning it in." It lacks that passion I've come to expect from the band. Not this boisterous, shove-it-in-your-face passion, but like - a quiet, building feeling.

This pathos has been a staple of most (if not all?) of the band's songs. "Chained," "Crystalised," "Reunion," "Angels." What you get with "On Hold" is something cold and lackluster. Some songs, I give them my benefit of the doubt. "This could be good, maybe I just need to listen to it a few more times and explore the possibilities, etc." Big fat no with this one. Try harder, Xx. Do better.

This all being said, I feel confident for their new material. Not every song is going to be a winner, and I feel like there might be a great track lurking in the shadows of their new album. I choose to hope so, anyway.

Listen to the song below.


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