I See You
After two albums of whispery, painfully fragile pop, the London trio The XX has morphed into a subtly different, though equally intriguing, entity. While I See You still features the creamy melodies and intimate vibes that brought them adoring critics and obsessed fans, these tender introverts display new confidence, embracing insistent R&B-style grooves and tackling unapologetically commercial tunes. Genteel singers Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft continue to act out classic boy-girl scenarios of romantic longing and fraught connection, from the anxious uptempo surge of “I Dare You” to the wistful “Test Me,” but seem less apologetic and more outgoing (in their shy way). When Croft sighs, “I will be brave for you/Stand on a stage for you/Do the things that I’m afraid to do,” she creates the uncanny sensation of eavesdropping on a private real-life encounter.