Oliver Sim – vocalist and bass player for minimalist post-punk band The xx – shared with his social media followers this week that he’s been living with HIV since he was a teenager. Facing the fear and shame he’s carried with him for so long, he put those feelings down in the musical form of his latest single, “Hideous.”
“I’ve been living with HIV since I was 17 and it’s played with how I’ve felt towards myself, and how I’ve assumed others have felt towards me, from that age and into my adult life. So, quite impulsively, I wrote about it on a song called ‘Hideous,’” wrote the 32-year-old.
“Since writing ‘Hideous,’ I’ve spent the last two years having conversations, which was difficult and uncomfortable to start with, but has allowed me to feel a lot freer and has only strengthened my relationship with myself and with the people in my life,” he added.
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Sim’s rich vocals are framed in a beautiful, lush pop-synth soundscape. The lyrics, pensive and contemplative, are candid in their personal nature:
Radical honesty might set me free / If it makes me hideous
Been living with HIV since seventeen / Am I hideous?
At the end of his note, Sims concludes the question “Am I hideous?” no longer feels like a question to the outside world but rather “a counter active one for myself.”
“Hideous” is taken from Hideous Bastard, the debut album by Oliver Sim available for pre-order now.