Understated. Unsmiling. Ungoogleable. Unrated* - until now. As teenagers, the xx sent shockwaves through the British music industry in 2009 with their debut self-titled album. A collection of startlingly intimate songs, with an erotic frisson present throughout, and a soundscape that employed a hitherto unique blend of the Young Marble Giants, Aaliyah**, and Burial-style dubstep accumulated into something that prompted significant cultural susurrus. But it wasn't just horny youths that found something attractive in these simple songs about desire - xx won the Mercury Prize, and is reported to have sold over 600,000 copies in the UK alone, while the two minute introductory track of wordless sighs has received nearly 400 million streams on Spotify. Critics lauded the melodies and convincing performances of the two lead vocalists, Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim, who had known each other since kindergarten. It was hard to believe, knowing little about their personal circumstances, that they were anything other than long-term lovers. During the tour for xx, keyboardist and guitarist Baria Qureshi left the group in circumstances that have never been fully detailed. Qureshi was not replaced, and the group has continued as a trio, releasing two further albums, 2012’s Coexist and 2017’s I See You. In between, producer Jamie xx released an album of his own, In Colour, to critical acclaim. His own work perhaps reached its widest audience after a collaboration with revered soul icon Gil Scott-Heron was sampled by Drake and Rihanna on their massive hit “Take Care”. Meanwhile, leading lady Romy has recently announced her own plans for solo stardom, and last year released the euphoric, New Order-inspired “Lifetime”, which peaked at #45 in Portugal (thanks @soratami) and at #3 on the most important list of all - @klow’s Top Tracks of 2020 (Spotify playlist available on request). For those of us the same age as the band's members, these songs have soundtracked many significant moments in our lives - aeroplane rides to faraway lands, dances under strobing lights, kisses, sobs, and dinner parties - and while "dinner party music" often indicates a very boring kind of tastefulness, I'm of the opinion that dinner parties don't have to be dull, and that the xx aren't either. I’m hoping some of you will take the journey through the xx’s discography and rate the following songs out of 10 with me: xx (2009) The iconic, eponymous debut, plus a handful of additional bonus tracks, including covers of Aaliyah, Kyla and Womack & Womack. Intro VCR Crystalised Islands Heart Skipped a Beat Fantasy Shelter Basic Space Infinity Night Time Stars Do You Mind Hot Like Fire Teardrops Insects Blood Red Moon Coexist (2012) Steel drums were added to the first record's singular palette for the "difficult" follow up, which landed at #1 in the UK. Angels Chained Fiction Try Reunion Sunset Missing Tides Unfold Swept Away Our Song Reconsider Together I See You (2017) After a hiatus of sorts, the band returned with I See You and some of its brightest songs and boldest production choices to date. Dangerous Say Something Loving Lips A Violent Noise Performance Replica Brave for You On Hold I Dare You Test Me Naive Seasons Run Jamie xx - A Selection (2011 - present) This section contains some of the more well-known tracks from Jamie xx's solo album In Colour (2015), as well as some of his most memorable remixes, "I'll Take Care of U" which beget "Take Care", and recent-ish single "Idontknow". I'll Take Care Of U (with Gil Scott Heron) Far Nearer Gosh Sleep Sound See Saw (ft. Romy) Stranger In A Room (ft. Oliver Sim) Loud Places (ft. Romy) I Know There's Gonna Be Good Times (ft. Young Thug & Popcaan) Idontknow You've Got The Love (Florence & The Machine Rework) Rolling In The Deep (Shuffle) (Adele Remix) On Hold (Jamie XX Remix) Romy Madley-Croft - The Complete Confection I had hoped this section of the rate might be longer, but Romy's debut continues to stew. In the meantime, we'll be rating the following two tracks, one her first and only solo single, the other a memorable collaboration with doomy pop group Creep. Lifetime Days "EASY PM LIST" Spoiler Intro VCR Crystalised Islands Heart Skipped a Beat Fantasy Shelter Basic Space Infinity Night Time Stars Do You Mind Hot Like Fire Teardrops Insects Blood Red Moon Angels Chained Fiction Try Reunion Sunset Missing Tides Unfold Swept Away Our Song Reconsider Together Dangerous Say Something Loving Lips A Violent Noise Performance Replica Brave for You On Hold I Dare You Test Me Naive Seasons Run I'll Take Care Of U (with Gil Scott Heron) Far Nearer Gosh Sleep Sound See Saw (ft. Romy) Stranger In A Room (ft. Oliver Sim) Loud Places (ft. Romy) I Know There's Gonna Be Good Times (ft. Young Thug & Popcaan) Idontknow You've Got The Love (Florence & The Machine Rework) Rolling In The Deep (Shuffle) (Adele Remix) On Hold (Jamie XX Remix) Lifetime Days SPOTIFY "Do You Mind" is on the playlist, but not available in my territory. Youtube videos for other tracks not available on Spotify ("Hot Like Fire" and "Teardrops") at all are linked above. If you have any problems finding any of the tracks, then please contact me. RULES (The important part, with the most important bits in bold.) Please rate all of the following songs (included above in the “Easy PM List”) out of 10. One song may be given an 11 out of 10 (but more on this below). I am happy to accept scores of up to two decimal places. Commentary on the songs is encouraged, but not mandatory with two exceptions: - You must provide commentary should you wish to give an 11; and - You must provide commentary should you wish to give a song a score lower than 2. Failure to do so will mean those scores will be rounded down (to a 10) or up (to a 2) as the case may be. I’m not looking for a post-doctoral thesis when it comes to commentary – literally a sentence or even just a few words will be acceptable. I feel that if a song is special enough to earn a score like 11, you ought to be able to say something about it. Likewise, if you feel so strongly to want to give a track less than 2, then I want to know why! Send your scores to me when complete by PM. The deadline for now will be Tuesday 23 March Tuesday 30 March at 11.59PM Australian Eastern Standard Time but if extensions are required then please let me know in here or via PM. I don’t mind if users submit low scores – to have taste you must know what you don’t like just as much as what you like, after all - but as mentioned, low scores will need to be justified with commentary, and if you want to write commentary on 55 different songs you don’t like...then I wish you an ounce of luck. Any queries, please contact me by private message, tag, carrier pigeon, telekinesis, etc. *Participants in the Quirky Pop Sophomore Rate (ballots are still being accepted I believe!) will be aware that "Angels" is on the Side B list. If you liked that, then please join in here! **I don't really think the xx sound that much like Aaliyah and feel that the "Hot Like Fire" cover perhaps invited such comparisons unnecessarily. However, take the trip through this discography and judge for yourself!