The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

HTHAZE is my best friend

He doesn’t know that I exist
Photo by Elyse Braun
HTHAZE reacting to the album “Calico” by Ryan Beatty.

I think it’s fair to say that all people have their own respective tastes in music. I personally, would never want to be boxed into listening to one specific genre. I feel like there is so much to be discovered when it comes to music. I discover new artists and songs almost daily. 

I think it’s also fair to say that I’m not the only person who feels this way. I’m sure all people have different methods for finding new artists or genres to listen to. Whether through friends and family, suggestions made on Spotify or other streaming platforms or by simply picking up a new CD at the thrift store, we all broaden our tastes in one way or another.

I have used all of the methods I just listed, but none could ever compare to my absolute favorite method of music discovery: album reaction videos. These videos can be found primarily on YouTube and are exactly how they sound. Someone sits down and reacts to an album or song they have never heard before and film their raw reaction.

But I don’t just like to watch these videos when I want to discover music. If someone posts a video reacting to an album I love, I never shy from watching that either. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to being able to listen to that album for the first time again myself.

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I have my favorite channels for this genre of video of course. I often find myself watching videos by channels such as Chats & Reacts, turning the tables or Reacts by Ash. 

They’re all amazing channels and I watch their videos often. But nobody has ever brought me more joy through musical suggestions than HTHAZE. The creator of the channel, Hamilton Troy Haze (though most call him Troy), might be one of my favorite people ever.

I truly do mean it when I say that it feels like he’s my best friend. Again, does he know that I exist? No. But I adore him regardless. I’m not one to be a hardcore fan for a content creator. I follow people on social media that I like, sure, but I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve never actually called myself a fan before.

I think that what keeps me watching Troy’s videos amounts to two different points. For one, Troy is incredibly honest and expressive in listening to the music he reacts to. Though I don’t know the specific details of his education, it is clear that he has a background in music. He actually makes music of his own.

Troy also just genuinely seems like a lovely human. He isn’t afraid to show emotion on camera and gives off the vibe that he really does care for music as a whole and helping people learn to appreciate it. He’s also never afraid to get up and dance to whatever song gets him moving. He shows people the emotion music carries as well as how to carry it.

Reason number two which I believe keeps me coming back for more is that Troy has helped me both discover and then fall in love with many artists and their music. It was through Troy that I discovered one of my favorite artists, RAYE.

It was also through Troy that I discovered “Calico” by Ryan Beatty, fell in love with “folklore” by Taylor Swift and established an even stronger love than I already had with “the record” by boygenius.

If you are the type of person who loves music but also loves watching videos, album reactions are definitely something you should look into. And, not to be biased, but I have to say that HTHAZE is definitely a good place to start.

Braun can be reached at [email protected].

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