Two months ago, actor-turned-YouTube personality Troye Sivan — famous for clips such as “Waxing My Legs with Zoella” and “HOW TO BE COOL” — released a video on his channel called “I Have Something To Tell You…” Given the video’s staggering 1.9 million views, I was immediately interested in just what it was that he had to tell us.

At first glance, I assumed it was a coming out video. YouTube has become a popular forum for Internet celebrities and ordinary people alike to express their innermost secrets to the world. But of course, any true Sivan fan would know he already released his coming out video in August 2013.

After having a minor existential crisis about my devotion to Troye, I pressed play. Sivan, with his signature cheekiness and charm, revealed he had signed his first record deal for an EP that would come out in August.

Just when I thought the actor, YouTuber and recent Teen Choice Award recipient could accomplish no more, Sivan, only 19, showcases his musical prowess through his debut EP, TRXYE. Since he previewed “Happy Little Pill,” the EP’s first track, TRXYE has been highly anticipated. And it doesn’t disappoint.

Sivan’s boyish voice and the album’s heavy synth/electronic influence led me to expect a teenybopper, boy-band vibe. But TRXYE is brimming with deeply mature and dark lyrics, a divergence from the summer anthems normally associated with synth pop. TRXYE succeeded in upending my conceptions of electronic pop music.

The five-track EP begins with “Happy Little Pill,” a melancholic pop anthem, setting the tone for the entire album. Likening love to an addiction, “Happy Little Pill” demonstrates Sivan’s mature take on the themes of love and loneliness. He sings with a sense of numbness, criticizing the fast-paced and indulgent city lifestyle (“Glazed eyes, empty hearts / Buying happy from shopping carts”), all while entrancing the listener with introspection on the high associated with love.

Next up, “Touch” is a ballad about taking risks. Though slow-moving in the beginning, the song gives way to a dubstep-heavy chorus reminiscent of Flume’s remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court.” “Touch” is about losing inhibitions and doing everything with a sense of conviction. The music and lyrics of “Touch” combine to reflect the worldliness of a seasoned philosopher with the nervousness of an inexperienced teenager. My favorite song from the EP, “Touch” leaves us with the same takeaway as YOLO, but does so with more poetic flair: “And I need you to trust the lust / We must get past all these rules/We must choose to reach out and touch.”

A quintessential road trip jam, “Fun” is a more lighthearted song that breaks from Sivan’s introspective lyrics and reminds us that the album was, indeed, written by a 19-year-old. With an up-tempo trajectory, “Fun” evokes the wide-eyed youthfulness of a teenage rebel who is looking to let loose, break the rules and enjoy the ride.

In his most personal track, Sivan’s “Gasoline” is a breakup song that possesses all the pain, sadness and longing associated with heartbreak. Here, Sivan flexes his songwriting muscles while making himself vulnerable to the listener. His voice rings with honesty and maturity, bringing out the song’s redemptive quality and emotional value: “Please bathe me now, wash me clean / Just set my heart on fire like gasoline.”

I also commend Sivan for his use of male pronouns in “Gasoline.” Today, few openly gay artists reference the nature of their sexual preference, opting instead for gender-neutral pronouns and ambiguous lyrics. As such, Sivan reveals an openness that resonates deeply in his music.

The EP ends with a remastered version of “The Fault in Our Stars (MMXIV),” a song Sivan wrote in honor of John Green’s eponymous novel. The track’s first line (“The weight of a simple human emotion / Weighs me down / More than the tank ever did.”) beautifully summarizes the emotional and poignant aesthetic of the entire album.

TRXYE is a testament to its artist’s versatility and talent. Sivan masterfully combines his boyish youth and modern touch with a haunting — and, at times, painful — sense of maturity. Sivan’s EP is likely just the beginning of a long and successful venture into the music industry.

  • Sofia

    Can I just say, this is a great article- but you’re wrong about one thing. ‘Fun’ is not about letting loose. It’s actually probably the most serious song on the album. Listen to the lyrics. In my opinion, it’s mocking either terrorists or people who see war as a fun time, you know real life video game. ‘Just don’t look them in the eyes boy, you just gotta take their lives boy’. ‘Lets go have fun/ you and me in the old jeep /riding round town with our rifles on the front seat/ fun, you and me in the Middle East/ shooting at rocks bullets cocked in the midday’ he’s not actually saying these are fun times with friends but mocking people who do these things (I imagine him mocking terrorists). ‘Yeah you’re gonna make them cry boy til they put you in the crown boy’ this is in no way about letting loose and having fun with friends but quite the opposite.

    • Bennett

      I thought ‘Fun’ was a very serious track, not one about mocking terrorists, but rather an introspective look into the concept of war and the military and the mindset of those who participate in them. I was reminded specifically of young people who become entrenched in that sort of situation, who go into war being told that their country needs them to fight or who are affected in less direct ways – it sounded to me almost like what someone might say to a child soldier to justify their cause and persuade them to join, making combat and killing out to be an adventure or an act of heroism.

      • Mithsi

        Agreed. To me, it felt as though Fun was about how someone is convinced into the mindset to kill without inhibition in a war by ideas of heroism, bravery and essentially detaching yourself from the humanness of the other party and the terrible nature of war. How war is glorified and it’s horrors downplayed. It’s specially significant now in the context of all these acts of terrorism and wars being fought in the world. And even the tune of the song, light as it may be, does have a bit of a dark forboding undertone.

  • Angel

    You also said their is a use of male pronouns in the song “Gasoline” in which reality he only used one male pronoun, not plural. Sorry…I am very picky when it comes to Troye Sivan. <3 -Angel Ortega