It’s hardly a stop-the-press moment when some 19-year old YouTube sensation from the other side of the world decides to drop an EP.
But when it tops the iTunes chart in 55 countries, you might want to rethink your position. Something tells us that Mr Troye Sivan is about to be Mr Extra Extra This Just In.
In an era where having substantial social media clout is everything to an emerging artist, Troye had that in the bag long before TRXYE was even thought of.
The South African-born Aussie talent is a triple threat: singer, songwriter and actor, having starred in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He’s perhaps best known as a YouTube personality, where he is very much in his element, posting videos to over 2 million subscribers and racking up no less than 91 million views.
There’s no doubt that Troye’s army of online followers is responsible for the big impact he’s had on iTunes. It’s easy to write off the exercise as a mere flex of social media power but TRXYE is so on-point, it’s picking up loiterers in the digital corridors and rapidly recruiting them to #TeamTroye.
The five-track EP is an expertly-produced platter of brooding, emotional electro pop. Sonically, it pitches Troye somewhere in the range of Lorde and Aussie electronica artist Flume.
The lead single and strongest track in the collection ‘Happy Little Pill’ is a dark number about loneliness, and it’s one of those songs that descend on you like a cloud from the minute you hit ‘play’.
Sivan writes with a flair that is beyond his years and playful online persona. He sings with a touch of glazed-eye detachment about “buying happy from shopping carts” and “sipping life from bottles” with the cynicism of a spent Hollywood star.
‘Gasoline’ is a bruised ballad doused with regret. Here the teen star sings, “I wake up the morning after. You call but I don’t answer. And I can’t look you in the eye, no matter how hard I try. You deserve a forever, not a boy looking for better”.
There is a vulnerability to his lyrics that show Sivan to be quite a raw and introspective songwriter in the way of Marina and the Diamonds.
What’s also particularly impressive about ‘Happy Little Pill’ (and its TRXYE sister tracks) is its futuristic and panoramic production that somehow walk the tightrope between being decadent and yet minimalistic. Tracks like ‘Touch’ lays its listeners on a soft bed of synths and soft reverberated vocals before frenetic electronic patterns show up in the chorus.
TRXYE makes a strong first impression for Troye Sivan as an artist. But as a body of work selling as many downloads as there are Kim Kardashian selfies, this also signals the emergence of a trendy new sound in the pop school where Sivan, Lorde, Banks and Flume are prefects.
Stand out tracks: ‘Happy Little Pill’ and ‘Gasoline’.