- Friendly Fandoms: With friends Parenthetical Girls and Swans. The latter also shared Thor Harris as a percussionist and Chris Pravdica as a live bassist.
- Narm / Narm Charm: Given how emotive and over-the-top Jamie Stewart's vocal delivery tends to be, it's natural that he sometimes slips into this. Sometimes, as in songs like "I Broke Up", the effect is completely intentional.
- Often it loops back around- when combined with vocals that sound like Stewart is being tortured to death while singing, the ridiculousness makes it even more disturbing.
- Nightmare Fuel: In spades. Whether it comes from the bizarre production, Stewart's manic vocals, the harrowing lyrics or some combination of the three, many of Xiu Xiu's songs are just plain unnerving.
- "Black Drum Machine." "THERE MUST BE SOME THINGS FOR WHICH OUR GOD CANNOT BE ACCUSED."
- The end of "Cynthia's Unisex." "I hate everyone but you... I hate everyone but you..."
- "El Naco." "I SEE IT AND I HAVE NO RIGHT TO SEE IT... I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS..."
- "I Luv Abortion" is about a friend of Jamie's who cut herself while she was a pregnant teenager (even mailing him the knife she used), due to massive doubting of her parenting abilities. "I look at my thighs and I see death, it's great, I love abortion..."
- "The Silver Platter." "God made us and now he wants us to die..."
- "Support Our Troops OH!" Stewart's spoken-word monologue is creepy enough, but the dissonant sound effects really push it over the edge.
- "Mary Turner Mary Turner", a song describing the true story of the utterly horrific murder of a pregnant black woman by a white lynch mob in Georgia. The word "lynching" doesn't even begin to describe what happened to her.
- Refuge in Audacity: "Black dick! Black dick! Black dick! Black dick!"
- Signature Song: "I Luv the Valley OH!"
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: "Mary Turner Mary Turner" pulls no punches in showing just how brutal and inhumane racism in the United States can get.
- Tear Jerker: A very large chunk of their back catalogue is made up of relentlessly depressing and/or unsettling songs about extremely personal and often bleak subject matter.
- "Botanica de Los Angeles", which seems to be about Stewart witnessing the suicide of a sexual assault victim and being unable to do anything.
- "Dangerous You Shouldn't Be Here", about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. "There is no way to light an altar for you, everything is too wet."
- "Luber", apparently about a student of Jamie's with neglectful parents. The impassioned delivery just makes it even more devastating.
- "Suha". "I hate my body / I hate the desert / I'm gonna hang myself / when will I be going home?"
- "Blacks". "I have had enough of this life."
- "Petite", a song about child prostitutes. The sheer despair on display is utterly haunting, and the video is almost entirely composed of headshots of underaged girls that Jamie found on Backpage.
- "Faith, Torn Apart" is also extremely sobering, with the latter half of the song being a spoken word poem from the perspective of each of the girls in the "Petite" video.
- The Woobie: Jamie's clearly been through a lot in his life — recurring topics in his work include child abuse, sexual assault, and suicide (including that of his father). In 2013, he wrote on the band's website asking fans to send him reasons to keep living, and in 2019 cancelled an entire tour for undisclosed mental health issues.
YMMV / Xiu Xiu