“Easy” was a standout track on Troye Sivan’s 2020 EP In A Dream. The slightly autotuned vocals, dance drums, and ‘80s inspired melody belied an intimate (if trite) story of infidelity and regret. It makes sense, then, that, Sivan would tap Kacey Musgraves for the remix. What is Musgraves’ MO if not evocative and complex lyrics over radio-friendly melody? Assisted by “Uptown Funk” producer Mark Ronson, Sivan and Musgraves offer a broader rendition of “Easy.” Its loss of depth is outweighed by the gratification of two uniquely gifted vocalists appreciating their growing popularity.
Ronson transmutes the skeletal instrumentation of the original into a more recognizable, if less original, brand of synth-pop. The original percussion was simple: a kick and a snare, consistent throughout. Ronson tags on a steady hi-hat line and periodic industrial sounds. While the original mix layered synth lines such that none overwhelmed at any given moment, Ronson’s new mix exaggerates highs and lows. The dominating synth-line (shinier and more pronounced) makes the hook entirely different. The joke of the chorus is that the experience of and reckoning with infidelity feels as overwhelming and sensual as one feels in a night club. Many of the lines (“I can’t even look at you”; “This house is on fire”) describe romantic stress while referencing drug-induced partying. In the original, the clashes between the lyrics, the eerie, subtle production, and the melody creates depth and nuance. When Sivan chants “This house in on fire (woo!)” it feels twisted and complex. On Ronson’s rendition, it feels boilerplate.
Still, Sivan’s remix suits his collaboration with Musgraves. The two collaborated on “Glittery,” another aesthetically charming duet appealing to fans; the “Easy” remix is similarly appearance-driven. Musgraves sings an unapologetic, caustic verse which says more about herself than the story of the relationship: “I’m not a saint so just give me the blame,” she opens. The two narrators express regret for their infidelity but luxuriate in its rebellious implications for their image. (The music video portrays the two as outlaws on the lamb.) And why not? While the original might wrangle with feelings of regret and excitement which emerge when infidelity is revealed, the remix showcases two pop giants who don’t give a fuck whose feelings they hurt. Less talented artists don’t have the confidence to pull off a song so brazenly self-indulgent. Troye and Kacey do, and the world is cooler for it.