To be completely honest, I feel nothing but love for all members of the xx (this isn’t news to anyone, is it?) Collectively, they’ve made the place where I find myself almost bearable. However, this week I want to draw particular attention to the band’s guitarist and co-vocalist Romy Madley Croft for her beautiful and quiet honesty, and highlight the stunning demo for “Brave for You” from the deluxe version of the band’s third album I See You.
The song itself is the first time Madley Croft has addressed the loss of her parents. In the album version, the shaky vocals are backed by haunting synths, nearly overwhelming drums and an echo-y guitar, like the musical accompaniment to that choked up moment before you burst into tears. It’s emotionally heavy and an incredibly sad dealing/coming-to-terms with grief. The acoustic version feels, oddly enough, slightly more about moving forward from the grief. It could be the lack of instrumentation but it seems to have more clarity as it’s almost matter-of-fact. (I’d like to point that she thinks of it in entirely opposite terms, album version: celebratory, demo: heart-broken–but I’ll stand by my personal interpretation.)
I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to call Madley Croft one of my personal heroes. Despite her self-admitted shyness, she exudes a silent confidence. The singer-songwriter still speaks softly and retains her hushed humility, yet she has not let herself be held back by it. Her best friend and bandmate Oliver Sim says of her “She’s the perfect example of, ‘If something scares me, I’m going to do it for the sake of growth.’ I don’t think it’s in her nature to lean into discomfort, but she does it.” And, for me, an awkward introvert, it is nothing short of inspirational how Madley Croft has achieved this level of fearlessness while not having to completely change her shy personality. It proves to me that you can challenge yourself to extend your boundaries without having to completely abandon those boundaries. For this reassurance, I am eternally grateful to her.
It’s not the happiest song to start of your week to, perhaps leave it for a moment of introspection or if you find yourself needing a cry, but it is beautiful nonetheless and true beauty doesn’t need a specific mood, I think.
Instagram (where she cutely gushes about her fiancée, Hannah Marshall)