Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Troye Sivan – My My My!

Come a long way since “Happy Little Pill“…


Claire Biddles: For those of us guilty of glamourising sad gay romance narratives, Troye Sivan’s first album Blue Neighbourhood was something akin to a holy text — a dramatic retelling of hurt and yearning and unrequited love transmitted from the doubled-down liminal space of teenage suburbia. We saw our queer failure reflected in its songs, and it gave us an idealistic picture of doomed love to compare our own pathetic romantic disappoint with. We sang along with Sivan’s empathetic promise that “my youth is yours” while knowing that we actually weren’t that young; that we would never really have a queer youth like Sivan’s because we came out too late, and weren’t we old enough to know better? We played it and played it and played it because it is easier to live in a perpetual feedback loop of pop cultural star-crossed lovers than it is to try to be happy with a real person. “My My My!” — Troye Sivan’s first single from his upcoming second album — is not like us. It is self-assured and maximal and it isn’t afraid to ask its lover to go faster or slower or keep going forever and ever and ever. “My My My!” is so audacious that it has a fucking exclamation point in its title. Where two years ago Sivan was begging us to kiss him, but not to bite; now he’s bragging of having his tongue between our teeth. He’s looking back at us, locking eyes, daring us to follow him. “My My My!” is important because it offers a glimpse of a pleasure-soaked queer future that Sivan already inhabits, that we all could have, if only we had the guts to allow ourselves to have it, or to ask for it, or both. Sivan’s transformation from tentative melancholia into pure joy is so complete, so triumphant, that it feels capable of crushing our miserable pasts and our knee-jerk self-protective cynicism into dust. It is bravery rooted in queer love and queer sex — a bravery that is tangible, that could be ours.

Hannah Jocelyn: What drew me most to Blue Neighborhood was its emotional core, and this doesn’t have that on the surface. It might be Troye’s first outright pop song; the lyrics are broader than before, the music glossier. But the actual setting is more intimate and immediate. Maybe it’s the newfound confidence in his performance, a long way even from “Wild,” let alone “We’re My OTP,” and the flashing imagery of the video. The smoothed-out mix doesn’t do the actual production or Troye himself justice, though. There are plenty of details that feel on the edge of erupting through the speakers (hand claps, gang harmonizing, swirling chipmunk samples), but the song is about the actual moment where feelings do burst through — something that the same mixer captured effortlessly in “Into You” and “I Really Like You.” For a song that celebrates closeness, “My My My” still feels more like being a voyeur than being right there with Troye.

Scott Mildenhall: Songs with exclamation marks in the title, however much an affectation, should not be so lightweight. Inability to fully convey excitement, or any remotely intense or heightened emotion is a problem in a song that does seem intended to sound like a deep breath of restless wonder. There’s nothing so intrepid as that occasionally promises, instead only an anticlimax of a chorus.

Will Adams: Troye Sivan’s yearning always comes across too polite, too reserved to really connect. “My My My!” manages to pump it up in the chorus, but it’s still cloaked in gauze and breathiness, like Taio Cruz’s “Do What You Like” with a wind machine on it. Which makes for pleasant listening, the kind where a lyric like “I die every night with you” is rendered as fluff when it really needed stakes.

Kalani Leblanc: Troye manifests the lax confidence high you get when dancing to your favorite song with the door closed. Those moments are strictly private and having someone waltz in means what comfort you had with yourself is shattered. “My My My!” quite literally slams the door open to reveal a strutting Troye, announcing his freedom from insecurities. 

Stephen Eisermann: Troye’s last album was full of introspective, beautiful, and honest songs; he never shied away from his sexuality or who he was, but he approached the subject coyly and with subtlety. It worked for the type of music he was releasing, but that was 2015, and Troye has grown up a lot since then. On “My My My!” we get the bolder, unapologetically gay, flaunt-it-all Troye, and it’s incredible. It grooves and shakes in ways Troye’s previous music never has, but what’s most engaging is the tangible lust and happiness that exudes from the song. The video does a great job of capturing Troye’s unadulterated happiness, but as a gay man this is what I love to see: an amazing artist releasing art that is truly representative of them without trying to make a statement other than that it’s OK to be happy.

Micha Cavaseno: This decade’s love of vocal processing often produces the most fascinating displays of intent, hearing someone’s distant memories processed and xeroxed into new strains of embalming. On “My My My!” everything sounds like a stylized gloss of satisfaction and pleasing to the eye, like slipping your fingers across the most crisp yet smooth fashion magazine possible. Sivan’s earnestness and simple gestures of desire don’t feel particularly bawdy or plaintive, but instead communicate to all the satisfaction of a wintry gum. At the end of the day there is pleasure, yet the pleasure feels strikingly muted for all the dives into projection.

Katherine St Asaph: Leaving aside the fact that the phrase “my, my, my” has always made my skin crawl (sorry, Philip Marlowe), here’s a good example of the disproportionate acclaim given to interchangeable alt-pop songs when their performers happen to be YouTube stars.

Alfred Soto: Johnny Gill, about whom there are also questions about his private life, already released the superior “My, My, My” twenty-eight years ago, but this aside, “My My My!” is a tired series of YouTube gestures clothed in gay pop drag at which the ostensibly heterosexual Take That excelled. Young white gay men can look to Years & Years for better role models.

William John: It’s difficult to escape the stenciling in of melodies here from a handful of predecessors that would conventionally be seen as critically unfriendly. But “My My My” removes Jonas’ assertion of a “right to be hellish”, St. Lucia’s apathy, and OneRepublic’s saccharine expressions of nostalgia, and replaces them with queer desire that unfurls slowly, from subtle smize to roar. And though these ancestor songs are laced with both vice and pleasure, none are quite so much fun as Sivan’s to strut around to in a cavernous space.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: Very little of the extraordinary appeal of “My My My!” has to do with any of its actual musical ingredients ─ St. Lucia, M83, and countless artists have relied on glowing retro-pop and razor-sharp hooks before and this one does not sound all that different ─ but in how absolutely everything else is delivered. Sivan approaches the track as if History was preparing him for it. It feels instantly iconic.  

Alex Clifton: “My My My!” has only been out for a couple weeks, but already it’s the sort of song imbued with good memories. Some of those are real: my friend blasting this in his car as he drives me home, beating on the steering wheel in time to the music, and an impromptu cookie-baking dance party. Some of these are not real: I already feel like I’ve danced to this at Pride, and I’ll scream whenever I hear it played at the club this year. The music’s a rush, a torrent of feelings tripping out over one another, ebullient like a first love–it’s all-encompassing and melodramatic, unabashedly queer and full of joy. It’s the sound of meeting someone at the club and seeing your best friends and the bright blue of a July sky, all the best things in life packed into three minutes. Somehow Troye Sivan managed to translate feelings I’ve only kept in my heart into a song, and I can’t thank him enough for it.

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22 Responses to “Troye Sivan – My My My!”

  1. Oh hell y’all!

    I watch the video and see nothing but fraudulence. Olly Alexander does this young queer euphoria and terror so much better.

  2. @ Claire I love you

  3. there are blurbs where you listen to the song again and appreciate it through fresh eyes. Claire’s blurb does that for me, even with the criticisms of the song in mind.

  4. “I watch the video and see nothing but fraudulence.”

    “is a tired series of YouTube gestures clothed in gay pop drag at which the ostensibly heterosexual Take That excelled.”

    @Alfred, what exactly is your issue with his supposed lack of authenticity though? The fact he was a YouTuber?

    I like Olly a lot too, but I don’t really see what he more so much more successfully than Troye in this space.

  5. *what he does so much more sucessfully

  6. “@Alfred, what exactly is your issue with his supposed lack of authenticity though? The fact he was a YouTuber?”

    Take That videos are queerer than Sivan’s. “My My My!” itself is just mediocre would-be pop.

  7. thanks alex and mo for the kind words x

  8. “Take That videos are queerer than Sivan’s“

    Well thank god you pointed out that a 90s boyband made up of 5 straight guys are queerer than a young gay man in 2018’s first (maybe imperfect) foray into expressing his sexuality I guess. I’m sure the 3 Take That fans still existing in the world will appreciate it?

  9. @ connor cosign

  10. 1. Arbitrarily ranking anything as ‘queerer’ than anything else never sits well with me – it just feels no-true-scotsman-y to me.

    2. imo judging Troye by his past as a YouTuber is like judging Carly by her run on Canadian Idol – I mentioned “We’re My OTP” at all purely because of how big of a contrast it is.

  11. Alfred, I don’t want to be the person to do this, but what “questions” are there around Troye Sivan that connect to Johnny Gill?

  12. I loved your blurb too, Claire.

    “I’m sure the 3 Take That fans still existing in the world will appreciate it?”

    Maybe the three [s]gay[/s] Take That fans!

    Josh Copperman: your points are well-taken. I can’t help but rank things, even when it’s rank.

  13. Not trying to start shit or anything (and that Take That dig was just me being petty) and by all means dislike or be critical of Troye (I was skeptical of him at first too) I just don’t see how praising Take That, or any straight act perpetuating elements of queerness while being dismissive of how an actual queer person represents themselves (especially a very young queer person, still figuring out how their indentity manifests in their music) helps anything. You know what I mean?

  14. Hey, who made fuckin alfred the arbiter of what gay media is Properly Gay??? i don’t remember gay twitter getting together and discussing this or anything was there a memo sent out that i missed

  15. This video is hardly Troye’s first foray into expressing his sexuality. “Heaven” is a really good video from last year on that.

    Alfred, Take That still have a pretty sizeable gay fan base, even though they largely stopped making the music that gained them that fan base in the 90s.

  16. “Heaven” is a better song and video, yeah.

    Connor: One of my approaches to criticism as a gay man, Conor, is to analyze how the Killers or Take That code queer in representation and material, so I’ll occasionally praise a straight performance of queerness over the so-called authentic representation by a queer artist. It produces more fascinating criticism and makes the songs I’m listening to more fraught. Don’t worry — I didn’t take what you said personally. We’ll have to admit we disagree and leave it at that.

  17. Whoops. I’m sorry for misspelling your name on second mention, Connor.

  18. Troye is really overrated. The production on his songs is good but his voice is bland and weak. It’s great to have openly LGBT artists who are well-known, but do they have to be this boring?

  19. any discussion of his communication of queerness is rendered moot when his vocal performance can’t even communicate emotion, imo

  20. Old gay here.

    George Michael’s ‘Young Guns’, and even moreso ‘Bad Boys’ were the soundtrack of my gay youth. Had i/we had an actual out, loud, and proud pop star (besides Boy George, and to a lesser extent, Pete Shelley), who knows what might have been? The problem here is that all three of them possessed skills Troye boy has yet to demonstrate.

    And Years & Years really are better at this…..

  21. This is OK. I don’t get the fuss (positive or negative) about it’s queerness… I think this is the first song I hear from him in which he doesn’t just sound like a YouTuber that can afford decent production. He’s still young, so I hope with time he keeps getting better.

    But what I really don’t understand is why I should like Years & Years. Most of the time Olly’s singing voice just doesn’t do it for me.

  22. OneCharmingBastard:

    Jimmy Somerville?