The XX's Wicked Treatment of Chris Isaak
"Not cool, the XX."
Bitch Stole My Hook explores the current "indie" generation's lack of fresh songwriting ability, and its oft-blatant hook thievery from previous acts.
For my first installment, I present to you British indie new wave band the XX's "Infinity." In this track, the fawned-over group manages to rob the chiseled, brooding Chris Isaak, and his well-known early '90s single "Wicked Game," blind. With many XX listeners young enough to be conceived to Isaak's sweet falsetto during the song's heyday, it's unlikely that this crime will result in public outcry -- perhaps until now!
Here's "Wicked Game":
...and here's "Infinity" from 2009's XX:
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Right away, the XX launches into the same twangy, heavily reverbed guitars and
the dark beachy ambience, and pretty much the same exact chord
progression. Right around the 2:30 minute mark, they rob Isaak's vocal hook.
However, the melancholy Isaak isn't the only victim here. Right around 3:30, the XX pilfers the synth melody from
Bronski Beat's pioneering chillwave tune "Smalltown Boy."
Is this a good
example of the sum of two decades' influences or just a downright sonic
robbery? "Smalltown Boy" seems to have
unknowingly and successfully laid the template for 2k's biggest indie
explosion, chillwave, a genre built around nostalgia, keyboards, dreamy
vocals, and the essential "chill vibes." South Florida's very own Millionyoung has
proven the genre successful, as well as other chillwave torch bearers
such as Washed Out or Neon Indian. So what's next then? I propose a
harder-edged, less chill, darker subgenre, let's call it Killwave.
On a 1-10 scale, (1 earning a slap on the wrist, and 10 a grand larceny offense):
The XX's "Infinity" rates an 8.
-- Richard Vergez
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