“Test Me” is I See You’s chance for reflection. It’s one of the slowest paced songs on the album, with soft piano notes, and quiet moments throughout in order to reflect on not only the lyrics you’re currently listening to but the effect of the whole album on you as a listener. It’s as if The xx is giving you the chance to really embrace what this new album – their first since 2012 – means.
For such a simple song, “Test Me” is very emotional, touching on things many people normally avoid. The concept of “Take it out on me,” and “I’ll take it out on you,” is something I’m sure everyone has had to deal with at some point, whether it be in romantic relationships or relationships of any kind – pent up emotions being let out in the worst way (“It’s easier than talking it through”), even towards someone you love.
The xx have said this song is about a tough time within the friendship between the band members Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Swim, and with their third member Jamie Smith (or Jamie xx) since they had been “quite distant from each other emotionally and geographically.” But such a song also helped them express themselves and grow stronger in the end. Perhaps that’s why, though you can hear the turmoil in the voices of Croft and Sim as they sing, the song also has a daring sound to it. “Test me, see if I stay” – as if it’s a continuation from the previous track “I Dare You,” with a confidence building even throughout dark times. This, to me, is what I See You represents.
Towards the beginning of the album, there are songs with some higher tempo, but with lonelier and/or more desperate lyrics (i.e. “Say Something Loving”). However, as the album progresses, while the tempo seems to vary, the lyrics become more based around confidence. Ending on “Test Me” is an interesting but good choice in that it seems to sum up the emotional roller coaster I See You puts you through, and the fade-out with the backdrop of a high synth note lets you fade away from those emotions with more ease.
You can listen to the track on Spotify, but be sure to get I See You on iTunes!