The xx – ‘On Hold’

Dec 23rd, 2016
| posted by: Jonno |

All of it.

All of the times you heard a song and thought that it was written just for you, and then you thought about how many other people across the world that will probably die before you meet them were thinking the exact same thing. All of the euphoria of dance music without that unwarranted wallop over the head. All of the times you went to an electronic music show and took drugs and the drugs didn’t kick in at the right time and you stood there feeling hollow, just counting the minutes until the strobe lights and the lasers and the screaming would stop and you could go home and listen to a song that sounded a bit like this. All of the sepia-tinged memories of teenage romance that was actually more like black and white when you think hard enough about it, which you don’t, really. All of the emotions of a three minute pop song disguised as an indie rock song. All of the ways in which the xx represents your various phases of understanding, knowing and not knowing anything at all. All of the arguments about the authenticity of a band with no drummer, two singers and barely any guitar playing save for a few notes strummed over and over again until you feel them moving in synchronicity with your own heart.

All of the samples you will never source, taken from records you will never own and heard in a way that will only make sense to you after the fact. All of the hold moments; the BRBs, the elevator music that adds up to wasted minutes where you should have just said I Can’t Live Without You, Please Don’t Go (though probably not to the insurance lady.) All of the sex you never had, you should have had, you dream of having. All of the sex you are afraid of. All of the questions about what it means to be a man, a woman, a couple, a single, a person. All of the anthems of your parents’ generation. All of the times your Mum listened to Carole King, your father listened to Earth, Wind and Fire and you listened to The xx. All of the ways in which a sad song can make you feel happy, and the fact that it has taken you three decades to arrive at this concept, as old as art itself.

All of the contours of a pair in an embrace. All of the hours dedicated by sculptors, painters, writers, poets, directors, photographers, dancers and three naive kids from North London to try and outline the fissured edges of what it means to kiss somebody and be utterly taken away. All of the arguments against monogamy, against the patriarchy, against love, against gender, against personhood and the incongruity of what it means to be alone. All of the beats, blasts and booms that could have gone into this song. All of the things that Jamie left out. All of the words that Romy and Oliver chose. All of the phrases they didn’t. All of the complications of 2016, and the simplicity of hearing a voice from another time, looping over itself and a rolling groove created on a computer, probably on the back of a tour bus. All of the longing that even the stable feel, for something, someone, anything else. All of the different versions of ourselves we could be. All of the nights we have spent with only the xx for company. All of our hopes realised. All of our daydreams soundtracked.

All of it.


this is such a brilliant write-up. made me wept. thank you.

and apparently made me fuck up my grammar too. double-thank you!

stoic crybaby
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