We’ve all been there. You’re choking back tears and someone painstakingly asks you, “How are you?” and all you can do is mumble out a “Good.”
Romy Madley Croft has certainly been there. That wounded four-letter response embodies her most unique track “Performance.”
The fifth track on the new album I See You by The xx is a song that anyone can relate to. After the first listen, it’s no surprise that the album is about heartbreak and the agony that follows. “Performance” is the first song on the album to truly make me feel the anguish that I imagine Croft feels during this heartbreak. It is really the turning point of this album: the first 4 tracks of I See You aren’t exactly happy tunes, however they do have a bit more liveliness to them. The opening airy voice of Croft collaborates with eerie sounds and sends a chill down my spine. As the song continues, the noises of a lonely guitar and uncanny violins mixed with quietness emphasize the melancholy lyrics and echo the feelings of loneliness that one feels after heartbreak. Throughout this track, Croft sings without Oliver Sim, opposing the majority of the album where the songs are sung by the duo. The lone voice further displays her gloomy solitude.
This song’s lyrics address two different types of performance. Croft uses examples of the kind of performing that she might do as an artist such as “danc[ing] like [she’s] on a stage,” but also speaks of the kind of performing that she does during her daily life: “put[ing] on a brave face” and trying to cover up her broken heart. Croft truly is putting “on a disguise” by acting like her heart does not ache just as she would put on makeup and a smile for a concert.
“Performance” sounds like loss and hurt and under those circumstances; Croft has made this song relatable. Although I don’t perform to large audiences and you can’t find me on iTunes, I’ll admit that I, like Croft, have pretended to be something I wasn’t before.
Right now this track is only available on Spotify and Apple Music. You can catch a preview of “Performance” here.