Andrew David Reinholdson
I understand why the people defending the xx here are doing so. They are realists, and understand that a creating a follow-up to the self-titled would be a task that no one is up to, not even the band that created the self-titled. The term sophomore slump is out there for a reason. It is impossible to follow up something perfect with something more perfect. When perfection has already been achieved, there is only one way to go.
Absolutely spot on review, particularly with respect to Coexist’s overproduction. For example, have you heard the acoustic version of ‘angels’ live in tokyo? How much better is that than the album version? (http://youtu.be/dYXejsku99Q). What on earth is that extended bridge doing in the album? The answer is that is could only be there if you were trying to hard to make something new. The stripped version in Tokyo is much better. But that’s exactly what you’d expect from a band that did it perfectly the first time.
And of course, if we had received ‘the xx: self-titled 2′ we would have to it as less than perfect for being unoriginal. Again, kudos to the xx for starting at the top of the hill, but the downside of course is that being there leaves one only one direction to go.
This reminds me of what an awesome short story does to me. Just thrusts you into a person’s life and personal problems in such a way that you instantly connect and feel empathy for the character and then tears your heart out by some extreme climactic situation. Whew. Excellent work.