Troye Sivan

EMI Music Australia, 2014

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


At nineteen, I was living off toaster oven hot dogs and trying to survive calculus. At nineteen, Australian-born Troye Sivan is an actor, singer-songwriter, and YouTube sensation with over three million followers. Now, hot on the heels of chart-topping single “Happy Little Pills” and a song for the soundtrack of hit film The Fault In Our Stars, Sivan has released his major label debut EP (and third altogether), TRYXE.  

The five songs contained within run the gamut from soulful R&B to trance-tinged electropop, mashing genres together in a way that sounds totally self-assured and mature. Sivan’s voice is silky smooth and his lyrics are all the more impressive when you realize they come from a precocious teenager. Still, this would be an impressive debut even from someone twice Sivan’s age.

Opener “Happy Little Pills” has been Sivan’s musical claim to fame, and for good reason. Shimmers of synths weave underneath his sultry vocals, culminating in the haunting yet altogether catchy chorus: “Oh, glazed eyes, empty hearts / Buying happy from shopping carts / Nothing but time to kill / Sipping life from bottles...My happy little pill, take me away.” The pulsing electronic beats add a layer of remove that echoes the hollow pleasures of the lyrics. Sivan’s voice lends the track its human warmth amid the hazy cacophony of slickly produced sound. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Sivan has a preternatural knack for songcraft, pairing complex soundscapes with stick-in-your-head choruses. The dynamic “Touch” is more evidence of this; it launches out with delicate, spare beats and airy vocals but then the bass drops and the track becomes something different altogether. The pairing of soaring synths and Sivan’s passionate vocals demands repeated listens, showcasing an ability to know when to let songs breathe and unfold at their own pace.

Meanwhile, “Fun” comes across as melodic anthem, all sun-soaked vocals and twinkles of synths. And yet, listening to the lyrics is a different experience altogether, detailing an understated yet sinister perspective on Middle East violence with lines like, “Yeah, you gotta set them free, boy / ‘Cause you know that’s what they need boy / Yeah, you’re gonna make them proud, boy / ‘Til they put you in the ground.” As the instrumentation swirls, the doubletracked chorus keeps repeating until the words become obscured and lose all meaning. It’s a fascinating perspective, the haunting lyrics belying the pure upbeat pep of the song itself.

Sivan is just as skilled at the downbeat ballad, as “Gasoline” and “The Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV)” showcase. The former is spare and restrained, coupling light piano and thrums of drumbeats with the pained, remorseful vocals: “Please, bathe me now, wash me clean / Set me on fire, like gasoline.” Meanwhile, closer “The Fault In Our Stars” is a more straightforward, sentimental ballad, cinematic in scope, and it’s easy to see why it was included on the soundtrack to John Green’s tenderhearted film.

On this disc, Troye Sivan establishes himself as an emerging talent who is lightyears beyond what his age would suggest. TRYXE manages to contain multitudes in the span of five short songs. Stay tuned for what 2015 has in store for this boy wonder.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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