Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Troye Sivan – Youth

Personally I’m waiting for the artist who goes all-out with “The Youngs”…


Claire Biddles: Troye Sivan’s music is the specific anticipation of the suburbs: opening your curtains in the morning and seeing rows and rows of identical houses and wishing, pretending, fantasising about the possibility of getting past them, getting somewhere better. “What if we ran away? If we said goodbye to safe and sound?” The possibility contained within the idea of the big city and the potential contained within the person accompanying you. When you’re young both things are an escape and both things have the same potential. I can’t help but hear the ticking of spokes on bicycle wheels weaving in between the beats of the pre-chorus; the image of only-recently-not teenagers from a thousand coming-of-age films speeding toward the city, toward the chorus of garbled electronic voices, where words are replaced with feeling and dancing and moving. I’ve listened to “Youth” a huge amount of times since Troye Sivan’s album was released late last year, and every time I listen I remember a different feeling of anticipation from my past — the possibility of a new place or a new person or even a new record to obsess over — until the chorus comes in and I can’t intellectualise, I just have to feel it.

Katherine St Asaph: Youth this certainly has, or appeals to: a chorus that collapses at the start, cranked-up drums and cranked-deep sequencers and vocals in some quirky rictus pitch, vaguely playful metaphors, breathless references to “running away” designed to stir that iHeartWalden impulse in all of us. I prefer maturity.

Cassy Gress: It’s possible that I’m in some sort of in-between period where I’m still too close to “my youth” to feel much other than embarrassment and shudders but not far away enough to cleanly remember the good parts, because I can’t think of any songs about being young that I’ve actively liked in the last good while. At age 21, I wasn’t listening to anything that sounded like this or had a similar message, so the only perspective I can fairly provide is that of the “old fart.” And that is that Troye Sivan sounds like someone who would give you his youth, and then stand there doe-eyed waiting for you to make it fantastical, without lifting a finger to help. Future you is yelling in the background: what happened to your youth?

Brad Shoup: He promises his youth in a way that’s impossible — as it almost always is — and kind of plausible, given his resigned manner. Marvelous timbre on the bass, the countermelodic twinkle hits, the pitch-up works on the chorus: this is major.

Alfred Soto: I didn’t need to read his biography: only a gay man would write “My youth is yours.” His voice has a sweet yearn, and while I appreciate his commitment to dance pop “Youth” is overproduced: I don’t need those vocal distortions or thundering drums. Let’s say Years & Years appreciate a svelte hook to accompany their men.

Thomas Inskeep: I liked his last single, though I couldn’t hum it now if you paid me; conversely, this is more hummable, definite ear candy, but also more generic, kinda like Sivan himself. “Youth” is bombastic and swoony and completely indistinguishable from its surroundings on pop radio. 

Will Adams: I continue to not get Troye Sivan. He’s got in vogue production on his side, all formant-shifted hooks and skittery percussion, but there’s not much else besides Sivan’s voice, which too easily mistakes heartfelt for gloopy and plainspoken for deadpan. “Youth” is gone in three minutes without any impact.

Scott Mildenhall: It’s an abstract affirmation of beautiful brevity and utmost sincerity; a truth louder than his voice can get to, and such is its force, louder than it needs to. The soundtrack is at turns twinkling and thumping, and amid it all he goes and wholeheartedly, soft-spokenly pledges: “my youth is yours”. It’s a meeting of the magical and the material: shouts of “MY YOUTH” like from a backfiring gospel choir, advice to cross fingers as if on the precipice of some great adventure – and ultimately a level of directness and intimacy that a YouTube piece could never possess.

Juana Giaimo: Is it possible to be nostalgic for what you are currently living? Trove Sivan’s answer would be yes. The fact that the relationship is limited to youth — “we’ve got no time for getting old” — means that it has an expiration date and that heartbreak is only a matter of time. Troye Sivan sings about young love as a shared adventure, but his voice is lonely and leaves unanswered questions. The chorus may be more upbeat, but his voice needs backing vocals to cheer the melody up. Giving away your youth to someone is a gift, but one that takes a portion of your own life. I hear the synths that follow the chorus as images of memories, of the answers to all those questions. The time going too fast, but his youth always attached to a past. 

Megan Harrington: There are a lot of things “Youth” gets right — the party’s always best in the kitchen, it’s easier to kiss someone in the middle of the room than along the walls, and if you leave your bedroom door unlocked someone will have sex on your bed. He doesn’t fill the bathtub with ice and cans of cheap beer — is that an American thing? Sivan promises, “my youth is yours” and in the context of the song he’s practically cursing the object of his affection, bequeathing him something that shouldn’t be given or taken away. The video is a bit of a take-back, youth as a celebration shared among the young. I’ve done it both ways, but you don’t “runaway now and forevermore” with your generation. During “Youth”‘s runtime, it’s a glitter and balloons dream, but when it bursts the cold daylight streaming through a diner window is bright enough to blind. Sivan, though young and idealistic, is wise enough to end “Youth” before it ends. 

Reader average: [5.66] (9 votes)

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7 Responses to “Troye Sivan – Youth”

  1. wow, this is higher than I expected

  2. This is actually somewhat lower than I expected. The post-chorus drop blows me away every time I hear it, and if Troye’s voice sometimes remains the weakest part of his own songs, that’s only because everything surrounding him is so goddamn gargantuan.

  3. Also, I think that the “youthfulness” — so to speak — of this song is actually refreshing to hear, especially as a contrast to both the darker moments on the parent album and the otherwise minimalist, moody sound of a lot of pop music lately.

  4. Pet Shop Boys have done this twice, second time contemporaneously, and better and gayer, so nah, I’m good.

    Also something I can’t quite put my finger on really irks me about this track, might just be Sivan’s bloodless delivery of something that should sound as passionate as it reads on paper.

  5. Agreed, re the album context. Youth on there is often something lost, left behind and maybe tainted; certainly in the video trilogy. This one’s more anticipatory, gently pulsing with nervous excitement – on the precipice of whatever could be ahead. Lyrics aside though, I don’t see it as being inextricable from youth.

  6. I am just tired of youth.

  7. While I generally agree with Katherine’s sentiment, I really like this one; I feel like Sivan has learned from Betty Who how to write the perfect song for road trips down the 5, late afternoon with long shadows and golden sunlight glinting off Pacific. It reminds me a lot of “Heartbreak Dream” or “Dreaming About You”. (Would that “Heaven” was a better collaboration.)