The attention span of a YouTube viewer usually lasts as long as the shtick one of its video makers can come up with. Perhaps this is why so many famed stars of the video sharing site are spreading their wings elsewhere, while taking on new projects. Names such as Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart and Dan Howell have branched out into ever growing careers in other media. Young Troye Sivan (who calls Oakley a close friend) began his vlogging experience back in 2012, but was well known before that in his homeland of Australia as a full-blown entertainer, with appearances in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the Spud trilogy. He is also a well-established vocalist, releasing two EPs in 2007 and 2012.
Sivan recorded and shared a song based on the teen novel / movie The Fault in Our Stars in early 2013. Within hours, his dedicated fan base racked up over 10,000 notes by re-sharing the tune on Tumblr. What they did not know was that the track was actually a prelude to an upcoming third EP from the now 19-year-old, titled TRXYE (it is pronounced by letter, not as an actual word).
It is his first mainstream debut following a surprise signing with EMI Australia last year. Over 40 songs were compiled for the EP. However, only five actually appear on TRXYE, including an updated version of The Fault in Our Stars.
Things open up with the melancholy first single, Happy Little Pill. Co-written by Sivan with thoughts to “someone super close” to himself, the buzz surrounding the track has already led to some great acclaim. A proper mix of a delicate electronic influence and emotive lyrics about a person who “sips a life from bottles”, it is apparent that a stage is set for the rest of the offering: this is going to get really deep, really fast.
The sensual Touch follows and what starts as a quiet storm eventually leads into a maddening dubstep chorus. If it feels a bit manic in its delivery, it is definitely the intention. It is nearly the perfect description of the first time a paramour grazes against a nervous lover’s skin. Suddenly, everything around them is alive.
Things pick up a bit with Fun, TRYXE’s next offering. If listeners believe that things are about to get a bit more hopeful due to the title, they will be in for a huge shock when they realize that Sivan is actually singing about the violent nature of war. With Sivan’s carefree vocals about taking someone’s life in the Middle East, the song is one of the most shocking moments of the EP. With that, however, it is also one of the most brilliant.
The heartbreaking Gasoline is next. Sivan has repeatedly stated that the song is one of his favorites. The call to a scorned lover in hopes of forgiveness has many of his fans wondering if it is the most personal piece of TRXYE.
“I’ve got to do something,” he laments melodically. “I f*cked up for nothing.” While the relationship may be over, the pain has not subsided. The sadness and longing in his voice is gloriously beautiful to hear.
With so many viral personalities scratching at the door to full entertainment privileges, Troye Sivan is definitely one of the few who deserves a real shot at things. While it might have been nice to show off more of a cheerful side (perhaps there was something in the discarded 30-something tracks), TRXYE manages to still get his point across: there is more to him than simply being a common YouTube celebrity.
Opinion by Jonathan Brown