9. The xx ‘Coexist’
In all utmost sincerity, British band the xx’s music is some of the best ever created. The angelic vocals, the soft, dreamy arrangements, and the jazz-like instrumentation make for a new wave of UK artists – one with both minimalism and overall versatility. Comprised of one producer (Jamie xx) and two vocalists (Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim), the xx’s music is guaranteed to be unlike anything you’ve ever listened to before. It’s their distinction of uniqueness that makes them even more grandeur. On the heels of their second album ‘Coexist’, the first official single “Angels” sets the tone for the quiet and instrumental-driven album.
The majority of ‘Coexist’ features vocalists Romy and Oliver trading arrangements – one singing lead as one sings ad-libs – with a level of perfection that works for every formula possible. Pair that with influences from hip hop producer Jamie xx’s live sets and they’ve formed their own #hypnoticpop genre that blends their angelic sounds together. Songs like “Tides” and “Swept Away” seem jazzy in nature, but their songs are so layered that it can’t really be classified as anything but hypnotizing. Second single “Chained” finds Oliver on lead, with Romy’s ad-libs quietly meshed under his powerful verses. The xx’s commercial appeal is found within the distinction of their unique sound, and makes their ‘Coexist’ album rise above nearly every release of 2012.
Why It’s Great: harrowing vocals, hip-hop’s influence on the #darkpop movement, moving instrumentals
Watch a live performance of the moving “Reunion”/”Sunset” mashup below.