Hidden Hits: Troye Sivan’s Lyrical Love Letter “for him.”

Here at CelebMix, we love a good hit single. However, some singles never achieve the success they truly deserved. And some amazing album tracks don’t get nearly enough recognition! Therefore, we present to you our latest weekly feature – ‘Hidden Hits’. Within this feature, we will discuss a ‘hidden hit’, discuss the success it achieved, the success it should’ve achieved and why it should’ve achieved that success. Last week we featured Tove Lo’s 2017 single “Disco Tits”. Today we will talk about the masterpiece that is the track “for him.” from Troye Sivan’s debut album Blue Neighbourhood.

Troye Sivan’s debut album is full of amazing songs. There’s the classic trilogy of “WILD”, “FOOLS”, and “TALK ME DOWN”, the carefree anthem “YOUTH”, the nostalgic track “SUBURBIA”, and so many more. As we patiently wait for the arrival of album number two, there’s no better time to reflect on one of his most underappreciated songs: “for him.” Visually, the track stands out from the others on Blue Neighbourhood, being the only title written in all lowercase letters, as opposed to the all-caps aesthetic Troye adopted for the rest of the album’s songs. Even though it never became a single, it is a very special song to Troye. In the verified lyrical commentary on Genius, Troye said the song “was supposed to be a gift for someone.” Inspired by sweet lyrics on the Lily Allen song “Chinese”, Troye goes on to describe the song as a letter to someone special, which relates to the title of the song as well.

The song’s lyrics read very much like a love letter, making reference to specific activities the couple would partake in, such as “buying e-cigarettes from the convenience store.” The result is a song that’s essentially a collection of intimate snapshots of this relationship. Troye originally wrote the song for his partner but ended up sharing it with the world. However, the song broadens it’s relatability in the chorus, particularly with the line: “you don’t have to say I love you to say I love you”, which translates much better when sung! Writing about that lyric, Troye said:

“Love is not something that you express when you say “I love you” necessarily, it’s something that you express in a million little gestures throughout every single day.”

“for him.” was in a very similar situation as Taylor Swift’s “Haunted”, another song we previously discussed in our Hidden Hits series. Both songs were buried 12 songs deep into their respective albums, and both were overshadowed by other amazing songs on the same albums! “for him.” was forced to compete with “WILD”, another song about a blossoming relationship that too catchy and relatable to not become a hit! It became even more popular with Alessia Cara’s feature, whereas the rapper Allday featured on “for him.” isn’t as widely known outside of Australia, Troye’s home country.

While “for him.” may not have achieved much success on the charts, it did become somewhat of a cult favourite among fans. While there was much speculation about who the song was written for, fans embraced the intimacy of the personal story Troye chose to share through the lyrics. In particular, fans have taken a liking to an unreleased version of the song in which Troye replaces Allday’s verse with the following alternate lyrics:

“We’re not a commercial for everyone else

We go out for coffee and keep to ourselves

We make little homes out of three star hotels

And I know what you’re feeling ’cause I feel it as well”

Troye performs this verse when singing “for him.” live. His performance of the song at the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater LA has racked up 3.4 million views on YouTube, significantly more than his performances of other songs at the same gig uploaded at the same time, more than tripling the views on the performance of his hit single “Youth”. While this is likely because this video is the only professionally recorded performance of the song live, it shows just how much fans adore this song and the heartwarming third verse.

Troye Sivan’s “for him.” is a love song that deserves to be heard. Despite what the chorus tells us, it’s not a typical “sickeningly sweet” love song, but one grounded in reality. While the lyrics are deeply personal and the song wasn’t originally intended to be released, it became a fan favourite due to the intimate vibe the song creates. It’s a shame that it hasn’t reached very far outside of the bubble of Troye Sivan fans! It will remain a dearly loved Hidden Hit, and a beautiful ode to any cute couples out there.

If you haven’t already, listen to the track on Spotify below!

There are hundreds of songs we have yet to cover for this series. Come back next week to read about yet another Hidden Hit!

Are you a fan of “for him.”? Do you have any suggestions for our Hidden Hits series? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix!

Written by Annemarie Cutruzzola

Canadian arts & culture writer and journalism student.