The xx - xx
Critic Score
Based on 23 reviews
2009 Ratings: #15 / 867
Year End Rank: #6
User Score
Based on 941 ratings
2009 Ratings: #29
Liked by 21 people
October 6, 2009 / Release Date
LP / Format
Rough Trade / Label
Indie Pop / Genres
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A.V. Club

The result is sexy like early Portishead and thoughtful like Young Marble Giants—a perfectly formed debut with a genuinely new sound way beyond the sum of identifiable forebears.

Drowned in Sound

They’re not magnificently written, with unspeakably beautiful melodies, and virtuoso instrumental performances, but they have an intangible spook. The XX know when to tense, when to relax.


For a debut album it’s brilliantly realised and contains not an inch of flab across its 11 songs.

No Ripcord

xx is a fantastically innovative album, and this band is exploring new territory.

Consequence of Sound

In less than 40 minutes of music, The xx have managed to offer an unforgettable debut and an album that deserves recognition come time for 2009’s year-end lists.

Slant Magazine

The xx opts for an appealing middle ground between immediacy and ambiance, and the highly sophisticated results are all the more impressive for being delivered by a foursome of 20-year-olds who have somehow acquired a knack for the kind of quietly ambitious songcraft for which some bands strive for their entire careers.


Throughout its 11 tracks, XX doesn’t so much as demand your devotion as it just slowly and completely takes it. The xx recorded not only the year’s best debut but also one of its best albums, period.


Initially hospital-tile sterile, xx rewards volume and repetition like few other albums this year.

Coke Machine Glow

The xx’s penchant for concision lends this material some seriously refreshing clarity, but it’d be a mistake to confuse their relative minimalism for some kind of aesthetic singularity.

The Line of Best Fit

The band’s resounding achievement ... is to infuse their music with melancholy without letting it lose buoyancy.


xx is a thoroughly cohesive, moving and accessible album. This young band of Londoners exhibits a level of maturity, artistry and potential that far exceeds their years.


While the band's subtlety and consistency threaten to work against them at times, XX is still a remarkable debut that rewards repeated listens and leaves listeners wanting more.


It’s strange that such a traditional set-up (drums, bass, keys, guitars, voices) has resulted in one of 2009’s most unique debuts.

Beats Per Minute

The band isn’t playing catch-up against a nonexistent reputation; they expect the record to speak for itself. And it certainly does. Every song is catchy and immediately enjoyable while not noisy.

The Skinny

At its heart xx is a pop record, brimming with slow-burning melodies and occasional rousing choruses.

Rolling Stone

Four pouty kids from South London, barely out of their teens, the xx see nothing wrong with playing Timbaland or Jam and Lewis-style R&B with an indie band's chops.

The Guardian

The album will win many friends for its beautifully haunting, understated charms.

FACT Magazine

Listening to The xx’s debut album, it’s impossible not to be overcome by the sort of sublime sadness that feels like a rheumatoid ache in the heart area.

NOW Magazine

As overwrought as the lyrics are, the songs have an attractive, dreamy, atmospheric quality that helps the London band avoid embarrassing teen melancholy.

The Observer

It's an album to play when you're wallowing in a comedown and slow-paced melancholy offers a strange comfort.

The Telegraph

They combine sparse melodies, hushed vocal harmonies and haunting production to create one of this year’s most beautiful and original debut albums.

The Fly

The real stand-out factor ... comes in the shape of the sublime vocal partnership between best buds Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim who sing up a sultry storm throughout these eleven hugely atmospheric offerings, complimenting each other beautifully and providing a real focal point. Dark and majestic.

Spectrum Culture

While The xx have produced a refreshing, understated debut in a time of super-compressed, post-modern grabs at the attention of the pop consumer, and a record capable of transporting one to a dreamy state of mind, the record doesn’t necessarily have songs.

Sometimes you don't need much in music to impress the listener, and this album is an example of that. The simplicity that beats from this album is incredibly beautiful and at the same time moving. The voices of these two complement each other perfectly and although there is not much going on, I feel an incredible pleasure and lack of boredom while listening to this music. Intro is probably the most perfect Intro you can imagine. I always can't help myself to play it on the guitar. It's ... read more
This is one of the most influential pop records of the century. Reticence is The xx's best friend on xx. In their spacious, r&b-leaning debut, they use the lack of sound as skillfully as anyone before or after them. Ten years later, xx is a blueprint for many of todays' pop and r&b artists (Banks, The Weeknd, Wet) but unlike many who have tried to copy this sound, the xx were also able to make the most out of the music in between the quiet.
Incredible how this record is 'almost' 10 years old. Re-visited because of I See You and was a very enjoyable listen.
The intro to this record is the best thing that The xx have ever done and I will stand by that statement. Aside from that, this album is just fine. It comes off as uninspired and unenthusiastic every so often, but there is no single song that is so bad it sticks out, or so good it sticks out (aside from Intro). I really admire the dynamics of the instrumentals, which were improved upon a bit later on Jamie's solo project. The vocals and lyrics are also just fine, so I can't really complain ... read more
The album that got me into indie/alternative/non-mainstream music in general, and that's for a good reason. The songs do so much with emotion and style while not sounding like they need to try in order to achieve that. At the same time, add the lyrics (which do a good job IMO of being relatable without being vague) and the subtle and wonderful vocal performances into the mix here, and you have what is the musical equivalent of sleeping under a warm blanket in the middle of a pitch-black room. ... read more
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Track List

  1. Intro
  2. VCR
  3. Crystalised
  4. Islands
  5. Heart Skipped a Beat
  6. Fantasy
  7. Shelter
  8. Basic Space
  9. Infinity
  10. Night Time
  11. Stars
  12. Hot Like Fire (iTunes Bonus Track)
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