XOLEX has a lot of pain she’s reflecting on in the new single “Ain’t Buyin’ It,” but it isn’t the sort of pain that stops someone dead in their tracks. Here, XOLEX isn’t scared about opening up to her audience, nor does she take on the persona of an artist who feels nothing but detriment from the decadence of their love and lust for life. Instead, she’s breaking down her emotions through fair-minded lyrical statements that translate to perfect country poetry in this melodic environment, and that’s more than I can say for her mainstream contemporaries this spring for certain. 

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The heaviness of the vocals in this mix is definitely on the indulgent side, but if I’m to be perfectly honest, I think it was very necessary. There’s not a lot of excess in the percussive parts here, but the beat is so important to understand the intensity of the narrative and, more specifically, the urgency of our storyteller’s words. She’s letting her hair down from a sonic point of view, and that sort of attitude is exactly what I haven’t been able to find when browsing major label-backed country singles in the last couple of years.  

For me, there’s nothing worse in this genre than a bassline that doesn’t give some foundation to the drumbeat, but issues like this one just don’t come up in “Ain’t Buyin’ It;” they’re left on the sidelines altogether. 

This track was mixed to create a smoky nightclub-style environment for our singer to bask in, and without disrespecting the authenticity of the real thing, I think it couldn’t be any more brilliant in this way. Every time that XOLEX sings a verse, there’s just enough reverb here to make it feel as though we’re alone in a tiny club with her, and she’s singing for our pleasure only. It’s sensuous and very unique for the style of melody she’s using as a vocalist, and I hope it’s something I’m going to be hearing even more of as she gets ready to cut a proper LP.  

With music and lyrics that are equally spellbinding for a critic like myself, fans of retro country should make a note of XOLEX and her new single “Ain’t Buyin’ It” this March, mostly because she’s about as one of a kind as they come. Country hasn’t had a lot of rule-breaking artists in a long time, and while this isn’t quite the ultimate crossover it takes its cues from, “Ain’t Buyin’ It” still refuses to fit into any box you try and stick it in. This isn’t for the genre-obsessed; if you ask me, XOLEX’s music is for the more refined audience in 2023.  

Garth Thomas