The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Review: Troye Sivan is one of your pop girls

Troye Sivan appears during his “Bloom” era in one of the only images of him the S&B has the legal right to use.

In an episode of iHeart Radio show “The Breakfast Club,” host Charlamange tha God prompts his guest, the rapper, singer and true visionary Azealia Banks, with the sentence, “One of our interns here, she said that you make music for gays.” Allowing for just a moment’s pause before speaking — since, after all, this is not a question — Azealia replies matter-of-factly, “I do.” She then peers incredulously over her microphone at Charlamagne’s co-host, DJ Envy, who quickly assures her that he is not the intern who made the remark in question.

“What’s wrong with that?” Azealia asks, her bob swishing above her shoulders as she turns her head back and forth to stare at each man. They jump on top of each other to answer her. “Nothing at all!” “Ain’t nothing wrong with it!” Azealia’s lips are pursed. Envy and Charlamagne stare at her while she waits for a question, then realizes one isn’t coming and says expectantly, “So. What now?”

 That was five years ago, the same year that Troye Sivan was putting out his second LP, “Bloom,” named after its third single which can be described only as an ecstatic ode to anal sex. Troye is no stranger to making music for gays. However, the most exciting recent addition to his catalog is the video for “One of Your Girls,” the third single off his newest release which serenades the straight men who have communed with Troye as a form of experimentation.

 In its initial scenes, the video features a fresh-faced Sivan singing about a vague muse as clips of male models staring seductively into camera — conspicuously including actor and musician Ross Lynch — flash by. Troye is dressed simply in a hoodie and t-shirt, across which the word “Rush” is printed. By the time the chorus arrives, he is utterly transformed, appearing in a series of Britney Spears-inspired drag looks singing, “Give me a call if you ever get lonely, I’ll be like one of your girls or your homies.”

 Troye’s drag looks phenomenal in the video. When I showed it to a friend, she didn’t believe that she was looking at the same person — because she wasn’t. She was looking at Troyella, who wrangles flyaway pieces of heavily highlighted hair in the tiny mirror of an Yves Saint Laurent compact. Troyette, who delicately lays her French-manicured hands on Ross Lynch. Troyana, who dances, flanked by a girl on either side, in a black-and-white scene that has reminded other critics of the videos for Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and Britney Spears’ “3.”

 “Rush,” the word printed across boy Troye’s shirt from earlier, references the name of Troye’s new album’s lead single, an anthem to being young, high and alive in the club with your lover or lovers. Its music video is full of scantily-clad 20-somethings making out, dancing on and around each other and showing off their cleavage. It’s a fun video, and it does its job, but in the wake of its release, some fans noted an unpleasant sameness to the sizes of the bodies it features.

 After an obviously predictable backlash, Sivan went to Billboard magazine to comment. “To be honest, it just wasn’t a thought we had,” he said. “We just made the video.” This response invites readers to ponder how, given time to take the temperature of the culture and craft a statement with the help of a publicist and management team, that was the best Sivan could come up with. The cast of “One of Your Girls,” which had probably already been shot by the time the “Rush” video came out, suggests that a similar creative thought process took place during its conception.

 I’m not saying all good art needs to fulfill some kind of diversity checklist — no one is saying that — but if you’re making a video about hot people being sexy and you don’t cast any fat people, you are demonstrating that you don’t think any fat people are hot, which isn’t a crime, it’s just embarrassing. And also not very queer.

I’m not saying all good art needs to fulfill some kind of diversity checklist — no one is saying that — but if you’re making a video about hot people being sexy and you don’t cast any fat people, you are demonstrating that you don’t think any fat people are hot, which isn’t a crime, it’s just embarrassing. And also not very queer.

 All that having been said, Ross Lynch — of, primarily, Disney Channel fame — is an excellent choice for the main hetero heartthrob of the “One of Your Girls” video, which opens on a close-up shot of him tucking his fingers just a little further down into his very beat up, not at all buttoned jeans. He looks straight out of an early-2000s ad for Abercrombie & Fitch, but alive with the spunk, movement and sex appeal that those photoshoots utterly lacked. He represents an aspiration — he reminds us of the only thing he has that Troye doesn’t. Most importantly, he knows how to whore it up for the camera, and he appears to enjoy doing so. For this casting decision, I applaud those responsible.

Troye’s visual sensibilities, while striking and evocative, make it clear that he is a little in love with a norm that doesn’t really love him, that doesn’t really love anyone. Most of us are. This song is about that and about being a little in love with boys who love the norm even more than you do. It’s a song about how something that is bad for you, and ultimately dissatisfying, can unfortunately be really hot. If you know how that is, “One of Your Girls” is for you.






View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Charlotte Krone, Opinions Editor
Charlotte Krone `25 is a Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and unofficial Spanish major from Los Angeles, CA. Among her favorite hobbies are breaking out into spontaneous song in shared living spaces, reading for queer themes in Taylor Swift lyrics, and talking about her feelings.
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    AbrahamNov 6, 2023 at 10:48 am

    I love when the opinions editor takes the mic for a sec and absolutely EATS with a review like this. This review is what dreams are made of. The Azealia Banks intro, the photo caption, the “One of Your Girls” commentary…perfect balance of humor and insight, so damn fun to read. Please keep feeding nostalgic S&B alumni opinions content like this!!