Intro (The xx song)

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"Intro"
Song by The xx
from the album xx
Released 14 August 2009 (2009-08-14)
Recorded 2008–2009
Studio XL Studio
(London, England)
Genre
Length 2:08
Label Young Turks
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Jamie xx

"Intro" is the opening song of English indie pop group The xx's debut studio album, xx (2009). It was composed as an instrumental by the group and produced by one of its members, Jamie xx. The song has been positively received, as well as earning comparisons to the works of Casiokids and Interpol. It has been analysed by The Daily Telegraph to have been a "TV favourite", getting play in several television commercials, events, and shows. The track has reached number 129 on the UK Singles Chart, as well as charting in France, Spain and the United States.

Production[edit]

"Intro"'s production was handled by Jamie xx, who was also mixer. The recording and mixing was held between December 2008 and May 2009 at XL Studios, a studio by XL Recordings located in London, England. Rodaidh McDonald engineered the track and was also the mixer. Romy Madley Croft and Baria Qureshi played guitar, the latter being a keyboardist for the song, while Oliver Sim was bassist. Finally, the mastering was done by Nilesh Patel at studio The Exchange in Camden Town.[1]

Composition[edit]

"Intro" was composed by Baria Qureshi, Jamie xx, Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft.[1] It is an instrumental with a duration of approximately two minutes and eight seconds,[1] performed in the key of A minor—with a chord progression of F–Am followed throughout the song—and in common time at a tempo of 100 beats per minute.[2] The instrumentation consists of a "fuzzy keyboard, a simple guitar riff, wordless chanting" and "double-tracked drums", according to The A.V. Club's Vadim Rizov;[3] Chase McMullen from Beats Per Minute described the song as "nearly trip hop".[4] It opens with a riff that BBC Music's Lou Thomas compared it to "Fot I Hose" by Casiokids, before the beat drops in which he said was "heavy enough for dubstep".[5] PopMatters journalist Ben Schumer said "Intro" "could almost pass for the score to a scene in a James Bond film. Although, it would have be [sic] some sort of nautical nighttime mission for Mr. Bond." He also compared it to "Untitled" from Interpol's debut album Turn on the Bright Lights, explaining that it "sets the scene [of xx] and gives listeners their first intoxicating taste of the xx's soundworld."[6] AllMusic critic Heather Phares described the sound as "moody" and "monochromatic".[7]

Reception[edit]

"Intro" was well received by critics. Bustle journalist Gabrielle Moss called it a "British indie pop gem",[8] and Chase McMullen of Beats per Minute honored the song as "a perfect opening to the greatness that is [xx]".[4] The Observer critic Sarah Boden wrote that "As the languorous swirl of Intro fades in [...] you immediately sense you're listening to something seductively special."[9] Vadim Rizov of The A.V. Club called the arrangement "epic minimalism",[3] while AllMusic's Heather Phares opined it "lovely enough".[7] Commercially, "Intro"'s first appearance on the charts was in 2010, when it hit number 161 on the UK Singles Chart.[10] Between 2012 and 2013, the track reached number 96 in France and number 50 in Spain,[11] as well as earning a new peak on the UK chart at number 129.[12]

In other media[edit]

In 2010, Neil McCormick, a writer for The Daily Telegraph, analysed "Intro" to have "become a TV favourite", and has helped the xx develop enough media presence to garner "over half a million sales around the world without ever having anything as vulgar as a hit". BBC used it as the theme for the 2010 United Kingdom general election.[13] It also was used in a commercial starring American speed skater Apolo Ohno for the telecom company AT&T.[14] Furthermore, the song was featured in the 2010 film It's Kind of a Funny Story and the 2012 film Project X, as well as in an episode of the first season of Person of Interest in October 2011.

Rihanna's song "Drunk on Love", from her sixth studio album Talk That Talk, samples the melody of "Intro",[15] and subsequently, all members of The xx earned writing credits on Talk That Talk.[16]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of xx.[1]

  • Romy Madley Croft – guitar
  • Oliver Sim – bass
  • Jamie Smith – beats, mixing, MPC, production
  • Baria Qureshi – guitar, keyboards
  • Rodaidh McDonald – engineering, mixing
  • Nilesh Patel – mastering

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010–13) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[17] 96
Ireland (IRMA)[18] 62
Italy (FIMI)[19] 59
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[11] 50
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 129
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[20] 11
US Rock Digital Songs (Billboard)[21] 32

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Gold 40,000^
Italy (FIMI)[23] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[25] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Anon. (2009). xx (CD liner notes). The xx. London: Young Turks. YT031. 
  2. ^ "The xx "Intro" Sheet Music – Download & Print". musicnotes.con. Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Rizov, Vadim (2010). "The xx: xx". The A.V. Club (5 January). Chicago. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b McMullen, Chase (2 December 2009). "Album Review: The xx – xx". Beats per Minute. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Lou. "The xx xx Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Schumer, Ben (7 October 2009). "The xx: xx". Popmatters. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "xx – The xx". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 1 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Moss, Gabrielle (9 September 2014). "11 Songs To Help You Study, Focus, and Write When You're Tired of Classical Music". Bustle. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Boden, Sarah (11 July 2009). "Pop review: The XX, XX". The Observer. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 18.09.2010 (wk36)". Zobbel. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Spanishcharts.com – The XX – Intro" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Chart Log UK – Weekly Updates Sales 2013". Zobbel. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  13. ^ "Rising stars The xx play out Newsnight election special". BBC News. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Jones, Douglas (9 April 2010). "Young and modern: Introducing the xx". CNN. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Graham, Mark (9 November 2011). "Album Preview: Rihanna's Talk That Talk Is The Dirtiest Pop Record Since Madonna's Erotica". VH1. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Talk That Talk (liner notes). Rihanna. Def Jam Recordings, SRP Records. 2011. 
  17. ^ "Lescharts.com – The XX – Intro" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Chart Track: Week 41, 2013". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  19. ^ "The xx" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 30 August 2018. 
  20. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  21. ^ "The xx – Chart history: Rock Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "Canadian single certifications – The xx – Intro". Music Canada. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  23. ^ "Italian single certifications – The xx – Intro" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 30 August 2018. 
  24. ^ "British single certifications – The xx – Intro". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 12 June 2017.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Intro in the search field and then press Enter.
  25. ^ "American single certifications – The xx – Intro". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 4 April 2016.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.