Troye Sivan’s music video for “Lucky Strike” dropped yesterday. Not to pull hipster rank on this one, but I was stanning Troye Sivan in 2012, BEFORE his music career, and BEFORE his coming out video, when he was a wee YouTuber that I had a huge crush on (and still do). Look at how little he is here! It’s honestly embarrassing how much I fanboyed over him, and I can still quote that video word for word, but let’s not drive down that dark memory lane. The point is, what I’m about to say comes from someone who is really is a fan of Troyeboy.
I don’t like this music video. The shots are filled with weird filters that are supposed to evoke some sort of feeling but are just really distracting. The zooms and cuts seem random and unplanned. And the metaphor of the heart beating and being squeezed by his crush is a little too on the nose and kind of disgusting. It’s like a film student’s avant-garde film that tries to seem like it’s making more of a statement than it actually is. Also, this is more of a matter of personal taste, but is the guy in the video really that hot? Like if you’re going to make a video about hitting on a guy at the beach, he should be way hotter.
I went back and reviewed some of Troye’s other videos, and what seems to be missing is a certain star quality found in other videos. “Blue Neighbourhood" came out two and a half years ago and it is by far the best. The three videos that form the trilogy are beautifully crafted, presenting a consistent narrative arc with shots that skillfully convey the emotion of the scene. I’m invested in the characters, and I’m invested in the story. Also that sh-t slaps.
In Troye’s 2016 videos, like “Youth”, this strong narrative character is replaced by a sense of randomness to the videos that we see repeated in “Lucky Strike”. The song is about enjoying youth, so it’s naturally set at a party, but the video doesn’t progress to anything. It just feels like much of the same over and over again. In later videos, like “Heaven”, a message is still apparent, but a distinct trend towards “artsy” shots prevails. The video for “Heaven” still has something to say, and it puts forth a consistent and coherent aesthetic that suits the tone of the song. In the most recent videos like “Bloom”, or “My My My”, the production seems to take over the video, and bizarre, distracting shots overshadow the meanings of the songs. The saving grace of “Bloom” is its unique fashion and make up choices, that visually engage the viewer. Troye werks in that video.
I don’t think all music videos need to have a very important message. But they should do something, whether compliment the song, tell a story, make a point, visually excite, or even just have a lot of fun. The closest we get to that is the collaboration with Ariana Grande on “Dance To This”, but she is the driving force in that video. In an era with videos like Beyonce’s “Apesh-t”, Ariana’s “thank u, next”, and Cardi B’s “Money”, Troye needs to raise the bar. After nearly seven years, I know he can do it. So, what are we waiting for?
Attached - Troye at the Golden Globes on the weekend.