If your YouTube searches consist of more than popular music videos and cats doing random “cute” things around the house, you’re probably watching the extremely popular YouTuber community. With people creating entertainment platforms from YouTube, becoming a music sensation can be as simple as posting a cover online that will hopefully be seen by millions and lead to a record deal (Justin Bieber is a prime example of this formula).
Troye Sivan is one of the latest YouTubers that has found a way to transition his massive YouTube audience (2.98 million subscribers) to a promising music career. Sivan signed a deal with EMI Australia in 2013 and since then, released a single that peaked at number 10 on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) singles chart. In addition to a successful single, his third EP TRXYE debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in over 55 countries. After watching most of Sivan’s YouTube videos it’s hard to believe that a guy with such a positive image can create a moody 5-track EP that covers passionate nights, depressed days and love that makes you want to see what else life has to offer. I’m digging the dark sound.
“Happy Little Pill” was the debut single that introduced many people to Troye Sivan, the singer/song-writer. Over a gloomy down-tempo beat, Sivan’s vices come to life on the chorus where his happy little pill helps him forgets about his problems momentarily. “Happy Little Pill” replay quality is a lot longer than the high that Sivan sings about on the record. That numb feeling can be felt as Sivan sings over the chilly production and begs to be revisited.
Sivan’s addictive anthem speaks on society’s tendency to ignore their problems with drugs, booze and whatever short term solution that can be placed in virtual shopping carts, “Glazed eyes empty hearts / buying happy from shopping carts / Nothing but time to kill / sipping life from bottles.” The lyrics in this track are deep and I can confess that a line or two can be seen on a few tweets posted when I first heard the song.
Even though “Happy Little Pill” is a sad track, it’s nice to hear Sivan bring up issues that people are constantly dealing with such as loneliness, depression and addiction. While the subject may seem too dark for the young audience that listens to his music, Sivan is speaking on problems that a lot of young adults go through and these types of songs need to be heard more on the popular charts.
Sivan gets sensual on the next track, “Touch.” Over a pounding beat, Sivan’s voice turns seductive as he gets close to his lover, “Standing in the eye of the storm / my eyes start to roam / to the curl of your lips / in the center of eclipse / in total darkness I reach out and TOUCH.” Sivan’s imagery is on point and reminds me of Tove Lo, another singer that is killing it with dark and sexy pop tracks. I would love to hear the magic that could come from Sivan and Lo collaborating on a track. I would even settle for a “Habits (Stay High)” remix.
After a good night, Sivan leaves the bedroom and has an adventure with the guy he couldn’t keep his hands off of on “Touch.” When I first heard “Fun,” I immediately thought of some hipster models on Tumblr chilling in a forest or having fun at the beach. The tone of this EP is very moody and each track could easily find a home on some artistic person on Tumblr that has a feed full of landscape photos and teens dressed in PacSun outfits (no shade, because I’m a fan of all of these items). Sivan’s lyrical content reminds of the young artists that are crafting amazing pop records that stray from the norm like Lorde, Banks and Tove Lo. It’ll be exciting to hear where Sivan goes on his full length record.
Sivan sounds heartbroken on “Gasoline” as he sings about wanting his heart set on fire like gasoline. The production on this track is very eerie, with abstract sounds placed throughout the track. While the track is solid, “Gasoline” is my least favorite track from TRXYE.
If you thought “Gasoline” was a sad record, Sivan reaches a lower depressed state on a track called “The Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV),” dedicated to the tear-jerker, The Fault in Our Stars. The track would have been great addition to the movie’s soundtrack, but you can still relive the tragic relationship of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters on this track. If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie, “The Fault in Our Stars (MMXIV)” is a good preview of the sadness to come if you decide to immerse yourself in that world.
Troye Sivan created a cohesive record with TRXYE. Sivan knows how to convey a lot of emotion in his voice but I don’t think we have heard how powerful his voice can get. While Sivan has two EPs under independent labels, I love the direction he went in with this EP. I hope he continues to dive deeper into this mature sound on his next record.