Troye Sivan is another example of a successful musician whose origins stem from YouTube. Originally, the 20-year old uploaded videos of himself singing from a very young age, but after a few years, he started vlogging and putting more of his personality online, even coming out as gay to his subscribers in 2013. As of writing this review, those subscribers stand at 3,545,040.
He released his first EP – TRXYE – in 2013 which made it to #1 on iTunes in 55 countries, thanks to his already-established fan base. Though don’t be mistaken: Sivan is more than a YouTuber who got lucky, he’s a talented singer-songwriter who takes the art extremely seriously. Each song on new EP WILD is like a diary entry from Sivan and “every song stems from a real experience”. The tracks are filled with love in its many forms: conception, the thrills of lust and love, and eventually an empty space where love once was…
The chorus of children singing during “WILD” firmly situates the song in a particular period of life: childhood, full of ‘firsts’. Sivan explains it as a song “about being a bit tipsy, walking home at night from a club with someone you’ve maybe just met but you’re like, ‘Oh my god! They’re so hot!’ It’s that first thrill of flirting with someone and all of those very first emotions”.
Hormones are raging throughout the title track, and the frequent repetition of “wild” is a reference to the over-zealous hormones that accompany pubescent lust. If the listener thinks back to the first time that they were so overcome with this emotion, a time when they “never knew lovin’ could hurt this good”, it’ll make this 4-minute experience really soak in.
“BITE” begins with vocals only, which smoothly leads to various electronic sounds and a grand piano softly accompanying. Sivan sings: “Kiss me on the mouth and set me free / But please don’t bite” in a non-aggressive, calm tone. A different type of innocence threads itself through this track; the lyric leads me to think that Sivan wants to experience love/passion, but is conscious of getting hurt. The recurring bass provides a much more sensual tone than “WILD”. A line I wish to mention just because it’s sweet is: “You can coax the cold right out of me / Drape me in your warmth”, it makes me imagine the scenes with Sivan wrapped around someone else in the music video for “WILD”.
“FOOLS” sees Sivan listing a hypothetical future – “I see swimming pools and living rooms and aeroplanes / I see a little house on the hill and children’s names…” – that will never materialise due to incompatibility. A deep longing courses through the track as he states that “only fools fall for you”, but he’s aware that he’s the fool. The piano makes an appearance again, and the track is melancholic in tone.
Compared to the previous tracks, a faster drumbeat leads us into “EASE” and Sivan is noticeably singing faster. He’s grown from the child in “WILD” and, after experiencing all that he has, wants to be taken “back to the basics and the simple life”. This is a lonely, longing tune, yet it encourages a head bopping if not a full-body boogie.
“THE QUIET” is a break-up song but hey, break-ups tend to follow even euphoric, wild love. Lyrics like: “I’d rather have broken bones than feel myself turn to stone” and “Say anything / Anything hurts less than the quiet” are so powerful. Sometimes you just need closure; sometimes you need to feel something as opposed to nothing at all. Every single lyric in this song is beautiful.
The final track, “DKLA” (an acronym for Don’t Keep Love Around, one can assume from the lyrics), begins with the sound of rain plus a synthesiser and it’s a full 27 seconds before Sivan sings. The instruments are quiet besides the occasional jitter; most of the energy from the first few pieces have been replaced with quiet contemplation.
It’s easy to visualise Sivan’s character growing as each track plays: he gets wiser, scars accumulate, and the light in his eyes dim. The EP begins with an innocent longing free of complications, but that tone isn’t maintained, just like real-life love. WILD was released on September 4 via Universal Music and can be purchased and streamed here.
Words by Shanade McConney