This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from The xx, Animal Collective, Cat Power, Shy Kids and Twerps.
(Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)
The xx – “Chained” (1 of 5)
After the gorgeous and bare first single and opening track “Angels,” Coexist‘s second song, “Chained,” is more indicative of the rest of the album, as it showcases all three members in peak form. Sim’s velvety voice makes a grand entrance into the arrangement and one can’t help but notice that he has matured as a singer. There is a seductiveness to his croon, a kind of eery yet comforting allure. Paired with Madley Croft the duo make for one of the most engrossing vocal pairs of the last few years. To go along with that, Jamie xx hovers silently in the background, sculpting deep drum rhythms and sophisticated synth patches. The tone of “Chained” is altered when the drums kick in mid-measure and only slowly work their way into the rhythm of the song. It’s something you would find on a Nicolass Jarr or a Burial track and it is the first glimpse of the influence dance music has had on Coexist‘s sound. Once all together, the song’s elements form a beautiful harmony; particularly as Madley Croft and Sim mirror the song’s chord changes with their voices. The song would be perfect if not for its abrupt ending. It seemed like it had so much more to say but was unnecessarily stopped in mid-sentence. –– Drew Malmuth