One With Shade has shared his first single since his debut EP dropped two years ago with “Backwards,” a haunting and resounding ode to the artist’s infatuation with moody synth-pop/chillwave and the engrossing sonics they can create. Inspired by his own struggle with Tourette’s syndrome, ADD, a stutter, and social anxiety — the new song focuses on One With Shade’s attempt to both enjoy what he’s overcome without focusing too harshly on the things he might’ve missed out on in his youth because of those struggles.
“Backwards” soundtracks the overwhelming collision of these anxieties, with its spiraling melody of cascading synths and tangled overlay of vocals adding to the chaos of its soundscape. “I’m lucky to be alive,” the words drift, elongated in the thundering bass and vaporized by the lush, poignant melancholy that One With Shade taps into with his simultaneous emotional vision of past hardships, finding happiness in overcoming them, and the pain in looking back.
The North EP was the first introduction given by One With Shade, one that combined his love of dreamy, electronica-fueled pop (catalyzed by a viewing of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive) and his own interstellar imagination. Creating an entire world — lyrically and melodically — for his anxieties to resolve themselves within, One With Shade echoes the audaciousness of electronic music project M83 and is all the better for it.
” ‘Backwards’ is a bittersweet tune. It’s about how happy I am now and how much I’ve overcome, in terms of my Tourette syndrome, ADD, a stutter, and social anxiety. I’ve been ‘socially awakened.’ And it’s hard looking back at social experiences I missed/or wasn’t comfortable experiencing in high school and college. Sometimes it can get overwhelming, and I can get down on myself. I feel like I’m going backwards.”