Rant and Rave: ‘Trophies’—Triumphs and losses in love

It has been over 11 years since the unassuming grade-schooler Greyson Chance wowed an audience with his cover of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi. Even now, that video of him stands at a whopping 69 million views, with commenters still expressing amazement at his vocal range and control at such a young age.

This viral moment would foreshadow his illustrious up-and-coming career, with Chance releasing light-hearted bops such as Dancing Next to Me and Unfriend You, interspersed with the occasional heart-wrenching ballad-like west texas and yours. But perhaps his most honest and transparent selection of self-composed songs to date is nestled in the center of his latest EP release, Trophies.

Give into me 

In an interview with Out, an LGBTQ+ magazine,  Chance articulates that most of the inspiration behind the creation of the EP stems from his desire to be a queer figure that the youth can look up to. “There were a lot of moments last year [where I didn’t want to do this], but I felt as if I had to keep on going for those kids that come to my shows,” he expresses.

Indeed, this drive can be felt throughout the album. Opening with the first single off of the tracklist, Chance’s Holy Feeling serves as a brilliant and inspiring introductory piece to his vocal prowess. In another interview with the website Music Daily, Chance emphasizes that Holy Feeling serves as his reminder to stay true to his identity, as he believes that it wholeheartedly captures a “more unpolished version” of himself.

As the calming croon of his voice fades, the rhythm picks up again in the next track, affecting a striking difference in sound that leaves the listener engaged. Nobody is a faster-paced and rather cheeky song exploring the possibility of a break-up. With bold and brash lyrics like “I probably shouldn’t call you / but I kinda want to,” and “We’re no good together / I should know better,” Nobody is an on-the-nose anthem for that one person you just can’t seem to quit.

Shaky and quiet

But it is perhaps Hands that perfectly encapsulates the purpose behind the entire EP. It tells a story of passionate yet uncertain love in fear of being found out. The pinnacle of the entire melody rests on the modified line of the last chorus: “I wonder if you’ll ever understand what it’s like to be loved by a man.” For those who heavily relate to Hands, it may feel like a punch to the gut, but it is simultaneously a comforting gesture that signifies you are not alone. 

In a fashion similar to his previously-released album, portraits, Greyson does not miss out on the chance to include a short snippet of a piece in the form of Same People. A brief yet well-meaning tune, it laments the unfortunate circumstance of seeing bits and pieces of the person you love in everyone around you.

The theme of uncertain love is echoed in the following track, High Waisted. The fear of commitment and of feeling too much is the song’s selling point, referencing the pressures of being in a serious relationship.

Madly in love

In stark contrast to the previous tracks, the last three melodies of the album, O Violet, Hellboy, and Clothes, speak of a tender, risque, and forgiving love—all in the respective order of those titles.

O Violet, in particular, stands out from the tracks as a heart-piercing and soulful ballad. The earnest and haunting tune of the song is enough for the listener to pull their partner close, or at the very least, yearn for one.

Clothes serves as an excellent closer to the EP, effectively wrapping up a very vulnerable side to Chance. The different myriad of emotions experienced when a person is in love are held in this almost somber melody, keeping the listener hooked until the last note of the song. The song is a testament to the importance of working through problems together and knowing when to let go of something beautiful.

The point of chasing pavements

Avid listeners of Greyson Chance are likely to notice that Trophies is a much more hopeful and symbolic sound compared to portraits. It seems that with this EP, Chance was able to dig deep into his soul and bare its contents to the audience—a mighty feat that not all musicians are capable of.

Music enthusiasts searching for real, raw emotion in the melodies that they listen to will definitely not be disappointed by Chance’s latest EP—in fact, they would be quite satisfied and surprised with how much they will treasure this collection of songs. As a love letter to all his fans and loved ones, Trophies accomplishes its goal of driving home the idea that love is beautiful and valid in all of its varying forms. 

Rating: 4/4

By Angel Peña

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