A couple of weeks back, the Australian singer Troye Sivan released his first new single of 2018, "My My My!". It's a synthy pop song of my very favorite sort—smoothly brooding in the verses, leading into a veritable explosion of a chorus straight from the Carly Rae Jepsen School of Getting Shit Done and Making People Cry. However, it's not the recorded version, but Sivan's recent live performance on Saturday Night Live that has fully won me over to "My My My!"'s many charms.
In contrast to its aural glossiness on record, Sivan gave the live version of the track, which you can see above, a real grit. During the verses, his voice, weighted with desire, sounds like a wet whisper in the ear of a lover in a crowded club, threaded in amongst the track's bumping drums rather than on top of them. The performance's sweaty aesthetic—the blue and red lights, the shiny make-up, that slick hair—only heaps on the sense of intimacy, and combined with Sivan's insistent gaze right into the camera lens, and the low hum of lines like "Spark up, buzzcut / I've got your tongue between my teeth," it feels like he's talking right to you, right to your face.
And a minute, too, for the significance of those lyrics, for the simple reason that they do not feel significant at all. Sexuality—and specifically homosexuality—in this performance is simply a fact, rather than a grandiose statement, and what a beautiful thing that is. It's why the chorus feels so much like a triumphant outpouring, and Sivan's own confidence and magnetism in delivering it renders this performance important: his self-assurance makes for a genuinely breathtaking declaration of self, with no compromise.
There's something about Studio 8H that, every so often, draws artists to providing performances that feel like real moments. This was one of those.
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