While the name Troye Sivan may not elicit much of a response at a party, if you were to utter his name at VidCon, that’d be a completely different story.
Troye Sivan is a YouTube star with over 2.5 million subscribers. He started posting videos to YouTube six years ago, when he was around 13 years of age—although he looked closer to six. For his first few years on YouTube he mainly sang, but about two years ago he started making vlogs. Despite a massive following on YouTube, most people still fail to recognize his name.
This summer, Troye Sivan released his first EP “TRXYE.” Despite being relatively unknown beyond his cult-following of YouTube followers, “TRXYE” soon became number one on iTunes in 55 countries (Pedestrian TV).
A year ago I started watching his videos, actually unaware of his musical abilities. So when I first discovered “TRXYE” I was pleasantly surprised.
The songs on “TRXYE” are: “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Happy Little Pill,” “Fun,” “Touch” and “Gasoline.”
Sivan actually released one of his songs last year, inspired by John Green’s book, “The Fault in Our Stars.” He named that song “The Fault in Our Stars”—not exactly the most creative song title ever, but that’s okay. Ironically, this is the most unique song on the EP. It has a different tone, beat and a larger range of vocals than the other songs. Much like the videos he posts on his YouTube channel, he wrote and produced “The Fault in Our Stars” in his bedroom, and then posted it on Tumblr. As Internet sensations usually go, it then received 10,000 notes and over 100,000 plays overnight. Sivan soon contacted a children’s hospital where he planned on filming his music video. Because the book, and thus the song, is about cancer patients, he chose to film the video on the oncology ward. 100 percent of the profits he made from his song were given to the hospital in which he filmed his music video.
The video shows highlights from Sivan’s visit, including a onesie party, a selfie session and lots of laughing. The opening scene starts out with Sivan getting ready to meet kids and teenagers. We seem him put on his onesie and wait for the kids, who then come in and, to our delight, we see their faces light up.
The video starts out slow, with longer shots, and then towards the middle things liven up with more rapid cuts, which induces excitement in the viewer on par with the excitement the kids in the video are exhibiting. This whole sequence of events is inter-cut with video of Sivan singing the song in a completely dark room. The end slows down, and we see Sivan’s face, blinking back tears. The song follows the plot of the book in terms of rhythm and emotion. It’s a really sweet video, and it’s obvious that the kids in the hospital are just as infatuated with Sivan as I am.
One of the other songs on his EP is “Happy Little Pill.” According to MTV, Sivan expressed that this song is about the ways in which people choose to respond to loneliness and other life events. With lyrics such as “Oh, glazed eyes, empty hearts/Buying happy from shopping carts/Nothing but time to kill/Sipping life from bottles…Cocaine, dollar bills…” Sivan highlights how drugs, alcohol and shopping have become ways in which we cope with our problems.
A short time after the success of the album, Sivan developed a music video for “Happy Little Pill.” The video follows a few young adults on their journeys to find their “happy little pills.” One uses soccer to find happiness, another uses sex, and from what I can tell, Sivan uses staring at the camera and lip-syncing the words to his song to find happiness. The music video has a dark tone to it. Most of the shots are focused on a single person—alone.
While “The Fault in Our Stars” is directly titled, Sivan’s song “Fun” has a sense entirely different from its title. After hearing two of Sivan’s songs about loneliness and cancer, I thought I’d try to cheer myself up with “Fun.” Wrong choice. The song starts off with “Well, don’t you want to see the world, boy/All the countries and their stars, boy” and I’m thinking, “Yeah, I’d love to see the world! Sounds great, Troye!” and then the song continues: “Just don’t look them in the eyes, boy/you just gotta’ take their lives, boy.” According to Genius, this song is about how we often glorify war. Many young children think war is all fun and games because that’s how it’s often portrayed in video games. Sivan is speaking specifically about the Middle East.
The two other songs, “Touch” and “Gasoline” are both about love and lust. According to Pedestrian TV, “Gasoline” is the most personal song on the album. Sivan was very nervous about releasing this song because it was so close to his heart. The song seems to either be about a past boyfriend of his, or a one-night-stand; all Sivan has disclosed is that this song is very personal to him.
According to Liberty Voice, “Touch” is about the lust and excitement experienced while touching the person one loves. The song begins with a slower beat, and as soon as “touch” is uttered, the music gets more intense, portraying the electricity of the first time one touches a lover.
I’m very glad that Sivan is writing songs that are deeper than when Ke$ha goes on about how she brushes her teeth with alcohol. I find the songs catchy, but they are also very similar. If they were played, one right after the other, I wouldn’t be able to distinguish one from the next, except “The Fault in Our Stars.”
Even though “TRXYE” contains five songs that are all very similar, they are also very good. Keep it coming, Troye!