It's easy to think of The xx as a fashionable band: Its members have a sleek all-in-black look, its typography and cover art is coolly and distinctively styled, and the group itself has been showered with validation, including Britain's 2010 Mercury Prize. But beneath all that tightly controlled image-making lays music that's raw and vulnerable; shy, worried tentativeness is wired into a sound that shimmers powerfully, but remains as fragile and delicate as a soap bubble.
It's Monday and time now for the Opinion Page. And after today's stunning news from the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI plans to resign, we want to hear your opinion on his legacy. 800-989-8255 is our phone number. Email us: email@example.com. You can also join the conversation at our website. That's at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The numbers from Syria can leave you numb: nearly 700,000 refugees now in neighboring countries, and the U.N. says their numbers grow by 5,000 every day, maybe two million internally displaced, 60,000 dead again according to the U.N., and that estimate came before the most recent intensification of combat in and around Damascus.