Jonathan Bogart: When I was first approached to write for the Singles Jukebox (hi, Dave!), I hesitated. It is still my official aesthetic position that every song is theoretically a  if understood through the right framework, and I worried that the constant churn of new music plus the silent peer pressure exercised by everyone else’s grading scale would encourage me to be less generous with my listening than I might otherwise be. All of which is prelude to saying that there are multiple frameworks through which to approach this song, and I can’t decide which I like best. One of the most attractive is that its slow, quiet patience is best understood as a counterweight against the prevailing winds in pop, which encourage loudness, speed, and flash; but to lean too hard on that argument is to use the xx as a stick to beat pop with, and I’m on record as being all in favor of loudness, speed and flash. Another framework is to take it on its own, without reference to any other music either “better” or “worse,” as a minorly dramatic composition, as a set of pretty sounds, as its own delicate structure. But this isn’t very satisfying, either — context-free thought is shallow thought. (It’s pretty compared to what? It’s delicate compared to what? How is it dramatic, and how does “minor” modify that?) But then there’s other contextual information I don’t have: I wasn’t paying attention to indie music in 2009, and their earlier music, if I heard it at all, has gone in one ear and out the other. I can’t place this on the great-to-forgettable spectrum of xx music, which I’m betting at least one commenter will claim means I don’t get to have an opinion. Even the fact that I’ve written this block of text is faintly ridiculous — the song is too slight, surely, to support this much rambling thought. All I have left is: Roma Madley Croft’s control, especially at that volume, is impressive, and the buried drum line rising and falling in the middle of is spectacular, if only because the rest of the song is so hushed around it.
Wish I’d gotten around to blurb this, but it’d be superfluous anyway.