Review: Troye Sivan, ‘TRXYE’
There are few 19-year old artists that can blow listeners away. That said, the multi-talented Troye Sivan just might be the one. Sivan’s off-cycle EP release, TRXYE was released Friday, August 15, throughout the world. With EPs ‘testing the waters’ for the full-length, lately, extended plays have shown the potential as well as the flaws of its respective artists. Sivan’s TRXYE easily sets him apart from other ‘pop’ artists, as there is more of an alternative tilt about this up-and-coming sensation. In other words, TRXYE is a homerun – a three-point jumper – a touchdown!
Opener “Happy Little Pill” finds Sivan’s vocals clear, never fighting the production work. The overall sound begins quite mysteriously, with an enigmatic darkness about it. The lyrics reveal that the ‘happiness’ isn’t genuine, but the result of substance abuse to discover some semblance of happiness. Numerous lyrics reference drugs, whether it’s “glazed eyes,” “sipping life from bottles,” or “Cocaine, dollar bills…” On the chorus, Sivan sings:
“My happy little pill / take me a way /Dry my eyes / bring color to my skies / my sweet little pill / take my hunger / lie within / numb my skin.”
“Touch,” like “Happy Little Pill,” draws the listener in with it’s nonconventional sound. Sivan has artistic similarities to Lorde, showing that distinctive sound and similarity throughout this track. “Touch” requires a second listen to capture everything Sivan has to offer, which is a mark of a thoughtful, more progressive artist. The lyrics are certainly poetic: “Standing in the eye of the storm / my eyes start to roll to the curl of your lips / and the center of eclipse / in total darkness I reach out and touch.” The electronic cues following the chorus are an excellent touch.
“Fun” continues in enigmatically, never becoming a casualty to trendy pop. The “fun” itself is a large, more meaningful statement than the title would suggest, evidenced from the first verse:
“You just gotta take their lives, boy.”
He confirms the meaning on the eerily catchy chorus:
“Let’s go have fun / you and me in the old jeep / ridin’ ‘round town with our rifles on the front seat / fun, you and me in the middle east…”
“Gasoline” tackles the never tiresome broken relationship and takes responsibility (“I’ve done you wrong, I regret it”). “Please bathe me now, wash me clean / just set my heart on fire / like gasoline,” Sivan sings on the chorus. Sivan remains sort of ‘cool’ in his vocal delivery, but his restraint almost makes the performance that much more chilling. There is definitely a chilling nature that dominates the entirety of the EP. Four tracks in, Sivan’s creativity is superb.
The EP closes sensationally with “The Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV),” where Sivan’s vocal tenderness and cool approach almost surprisingly pulls in the listener. Sivan proves that you don’t have to be a maximal-minded vocalist (i.e. runs and a variety of nuances) to deliver a complete, emotionally connective performance. The lyrics are simply beautiful and touching:
“And I don’t want to let this go / I don’t want to lose control / I just want to see the stars with you / and I don’t want to say goodbye / someone tell me why / I just want to see the stars with you.”
Honestly, there is little to nitpick about on TRXYE; the teen artist has delivered an EP that truly separates his artistic lane from others. Being an alt-pop artist definitely takes focus, which Sivan seems to have plenty of. Vocally he’s not one blow you away with overtness, but his subtlety and poise are killer. As for favorites – well, all five tracks impress.
Gems: “Happy Little Pill,” “Fun” & “Gasoline”