Video Premiere: Hirsch Goes On Psychedelic Trip In “My Favorite Motive”

An electronic mastermind maneuvers through heartbreak and healing

Emile Hirsch (Image: Twitter)

In a post-heartbreak world, anything can happen. And sometimes that involves a voyage through a cosmic stretch of raw human emotions.

Acclaimed actor Emile Hirsch, known simply as Hirsch in his musical endeavors, shoves his way through a cloud of emotions. His new song “My Favorite Motive,” out today, finds the singer-songwriter sifting through the rubble and collecting up the pieces of his heart. In doing so, he invites the healing process to slowly descend around his frame.

The song, he explains, also explores “how precarious of a position it is to be there.” There is the purgatory, the fiery space between heartbreak’s earth-scorched aftermath and the first therapeutic droplets of salvation. “A chance encounter with someone from your past, after a period of not seeing them, can lead to a various emotions 一 fear at getting hurt again, excitement, resentment, and an honest assessment that blaming someone else is ultimately pointless in that scenario because you are a more than willing player in the game.”

“You’re gonna make it worse ‘cuz it already hurts / And you deserve him,” Hirsch argues across a celestial blanket of production. “You were sure then / Baby, keep on crying.”

He keeps his ground, or at least that’s his resolve in the beginning. “I was present / We were settled / Then, the phone rang / Thoughts raced through the room,” he later describes, inviting the listener into a spiraling web that is his moral conundrum. “In my hand, I held the metal / Hesitated / Then knew what to do.”

The resolution, however, is never fully revealed 一 serving an artistic purpose to allow the listener to reapply the heart torn lyrics to their own lives.

“I deliberately left the song open ended,” he tells Rock & Roll Globe. “You don’t know what decision the narrator will make after the phone rings in the second verse. I didn’t want to wrap that answer up into a bow for anyone. Each person should reach their own conclusions, or even personalize the song for them so that the version of the song that resonates strongest is that path that they themselves would take 一 would they pick up and talk to that person from their past? Or would they let it ring?”

Hirsch logo (Image: Hirsch)

“There’s an angst to this song more than some of the other love songs we’ve had,” he continues, “and I think it’s because it comes to the subject in a more specific way 一 where the person almost represents the threat of a relapse, a somewhat healed heart recognizes the potential for damage again. A glimpse back down that thorny path.”

With the accompanying music video, directed by Michael Polish (director of For Lovers Only and Northfork, among countless other features), Hirsch loses control inside a psychedelic kaleidoscope. Bursts of overexposed colors accentuate the emotional turbulence, slowly seeping out into the world as hot lava tumbling down into the countryside. Immediately, Polish gravitated towards the song and suggested “doing a very layered approach, multiple takes of the whole song from different angles,” offers Hirsch. “He incorporated a retro video game theme, which makes it kind of oddly psychedelic, and especially with the pong theme, the back and forth of relationships. All the different colors and layers add shades of conflict 一 how when you turn ideas over in your mind, your emotions run through the whole spectrum. There’s light, and there’s darkness.”

Filmed in a few short hours in a secluded hotel room, “My Favorite Moment” makes reference to a little known 2011 film. “Michael wanted me to take my shirt off, which seemed fitting, because we almost saw it as a moment in time from that Steve McQueen film Shame, an isolated individual in the hotel room mulling over some drama.”

Star of films like Into the Wild, All Nighter, and this year’s underrated horror gem Son, co-starring Andi Matichak, Emile Hirsch began releasing music under the Hirsch moniker in 2019. A debut record titled Mnemonic demonstrated a knack for weird and hypnotic electro-pop. Earlier this year, a second record, called Denihilism, arrived, and the 14 songs further pushed musical and stylistic boundaries. “My Favorite Motive” continues in the same vein, containing synths and percussion wrapped like barbed wire, and it’s evident Hirsch plays by no rules but his own. That’s the genius of his work; it fuses mainstream expectation with an indie ambition and creativity, in true renegade style.


VIDEO: Hirsch “My Favorite Motive”


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Jason Scott

Jason Scott is a West Virginia-based freelance writer specializing in music, horror and LGBTQ+ issues. They also have bylines in Billboard,, Uproxx, Greatist and many others. Itching for creative freedom, they founded their own music-discovery and indie-horror site called B-Sides & Badlands. Reach them @JasonTheScott.

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