“Ain’t Buyin’ It” by Xolex

While I had never heard of her music before picking up my copy of her third official single “Ain’t Buyin’ It,” I knew there was something special about Xolex’s brand of melodicism upon the first time I listened to this latest release. Affectionate in spirit but entirely jarring in its poetic construction, “Ain’t Buyin’ It” rues over the past with its words while glimpsing forward into the future with its music, which is a difficult contrast to successfully illustrate in a contemporary country song.

There is scarcely a moment in the track that features a split spotlight, and by this, I don’t mean to discount the role of the instrumental fabric in structuring the narrative behind the verses. What I do mean is that even when her position in the mix has been reduced to make a hook feel all the more powerful there’s never an instance in which Xolex sounds like any less of a star than she truly is. Hers is a mature style of songwriting for sure, and if you haven’t heard it yet, I would recommend doing so with this track immediately.  

By all accounts, 2023 needed a feel-good single that had some level of introspection in its storytelling, and though I would be hesitant to call this the most effective track out of the underground market this year, it’s unquestionably one of the stronger forces to be reckoned with this spring. There’s nothing sugary about the style of country music Xolex is toying with so seductively in her performance here; on the contrary, there is a sense of perpetual darkness which she employs as another arm of her sensuous master plan that we’re never able to escape, no matter what juncture of the track in question.

She isn’t trying to speak to us via her words alone in “Ain’t Buyin’ It;” she wants us to feel her emotions as much as we’re absorbing her linguistics, which is undeniably one of the most difficult assignments a young artist can be tasked with, regardless of the studio budget they may or may not be in possession of. On this front, Xolex deserves all the more credit for accomplishing what she did with what she was given. 

It’s particularly difficult to tell what an artist like Xolex is going to do in the wake of a single like “Ain’t Buyin’ It” succeeding in the fashion it has the potential to this season, but alas, I don’t believe it would be wise for critics to dismiss her as a flavor-of-the-month-type country singer.

There’s a lot to be learned about her as a composer from listening to this song, and provided she’s able to continue cultivating her craft with the same level of discipline she’s shown off thus far in her career, I don’t think there should be any reason to believe that she won’t be crossing over from the underground to the mainstream a lot sooner than later. I’ll be staying tuned for whatever comes next, and those who also enjoy premium country should do the same.  

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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