When I read the inspiration behind the XOR music video we’re premiering today, “Path,” it cut very deep. It made me think about the wounds I’ve suffered as someone who’s tried to see the beauty in everyone who I’ve called a friend. The times I’ve been driven to nurture their light, however small it appears to the person holding it. The times I trusted someone who hid their cruelty from me because they wanted me to see them as good. And how real that goodness can be in someone who also harbors sadistic and abusive behaviors. The betrayal I felt when I saw all of them, not just the person they wanted me to see. I’ve had to let go of people I cared deeply for, people that I saw kindness in, because they couldn’t stop hurting others, even though I knew they were hurting themselves the most. Guilt and grief all bound together.
I think it’s common enough in punk or anarchist subcultures for people to bounce from city to city, so you don’t often think much of it when someone has a spotty history or long list of places behind them. Sometimes, though, it allows people to burn bridges, leave town, and start over somewhere new, instead of building meaningful relationships or working through the ways they’ve harmed people. This song is about the uncomfortable intersection between accountability and abuse, trauma, and mental health. I spent a couple of years trying to help a friend learn to treat people well, but in the end, I had to cut them off.
— Matthew, XOR
So as I’m watching XOR’s video for “Path,” his sweet synth melodies are unearthing so much pain that I need to release. This song feels like a dancing meditation to me, something I needed to hear today. XOR is the solo project from Secret Shame bassist Matthew, and his self-titled debut album is out July 30th and you can pre-order it here. Right now, I hope this song helps anyone out there who shares the pain of caring for a lost soul.