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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Album Review: Troye Sivan’s “Something to Give Each Other” showcases the artist’s bloom from his blue neighborhood

Sivan embraces the complexity of love while emerging from his comfort zone
Troye Sivan in 2018.

Troye Sivan’s journey from the dreamy outsider of “Blue Neighbourhood” to the libertine pop hero of “Something to Give Each Other” is nothing short of astonishing. With this third album, Sivan throws away any lingering notions of youthful preciousness, instead inviting us to join him in a thrilling exploration of desire, romance and self-discovery.

Troye Sivan came out as gay in 2013, and released his debut album “Blue Neighborhood” just two years later. In it, Sivan paints himself as a wide-eyed observer of the world, open to anything and everything. He sings about growing up, the process of coming out and grapples with the concept of self-acceptance in songs such as “Wild” and “FOOLS.”

In 2018, Sivan released his sophomore album titled “Bloom,” which saw him graduate from the suburbs and dive into the complexities of sexual exploration, marked by anthemic pop songs that examine topics like bottoming and encounters with older men. Additionally, “My My My!” and “Dance to This” are tracks that express the joy and liberation of love and desire that Troye began to feel at the time. This evolution in his music was a testament to his growth as an artist, moving beyond imitation to real-life experiences.

Due to the five-year hiatus, “Something to Give Each Other” was a highly anticipated release. The title resonated with me; everyone has something to offer someone else, whether it be an interaction that lasts a second or a relationship that lasts decades.

Many of his songs on this album share the same themes of his previous albums, but with each album it seems Sivan has become more secure and confident in his sexuality, which — other than his looks — is likely what attracts so many people to him. Troye has been extremely comfortable with his sexuality for a long time, not hesitating to discuss it openly during interviews. He stepped out of his comfort zone by deciding to incorporate choreography into his music videos, possibly to make the songs even more trendy on platforms like TikTok but also to have fun experimenting with a new form of expression  As it turns out, despite being new to it, he is an extremely good dancer as demonstrated in his “Got Me Started” and “Rush” choreos.

Each and every single one of the songs on this album has its own charm and deserves to be analyzed. Many of the songs of this album resemble “My! My! My!” from his previous album in that they are upbeat and celebratory tracks about liberation and the excitement of falling in love. They are about embracing desire and living in the moment, and I love that sentiment.

“Rush” was the first single to be dropped back in July. It immediately started trending on TikTok and was arguably one of the songs of the summer. This track pulses with a breakneck house beat and throbs with homoerotic energy, challenging any preconceived notions of the artist. To top it all off, Troye’s vocals are angelic, and the addition of Hyunjin and PinkPantheress on a different version catapults the song to higher dimension. It’s a sonic jolt that reintroduces Sivan as a pop powerhouse, and the accompanying music video is a mesmerizing scene of dance, sensuality and nightlife decadence, confirming his newfound lusty persona.

Next came “Got me Started,” which was released three weeks prior to the actual album release and was the first song Sivan had written for the album. From the second this song started, I was entranced. It’s almost like I was transported back to middle school when memes were going viral with “Shooting Stars” by the Bag Raiders playing in the background. The sample is addicting, as the original beat incorporates a combination of synthesized drum sounds, including kick drums, snare drums and hi-hats to create a danceable and lively rhythm.

In an interview, Troye says he got his inspiration for this song from Janet Jackson. However, he finally got the motivation to write this song after finding a little spark with someone during the pandemic after feeling emotionally dead for so long. Many of us felt the same; at least one good thing came out of that depressing time.

One of the more talked about songs on the album since it’s full release is called “One of Your Girls.” The song is about Troye’s experience hooking up with straight/questioning guys, but also knowing it would just be an experiment with little to no strings attached. During a listening party, Sivan contemplated his own emotions regarding these encounters, including what he referred to as “internalized homophobia” and joked that this contributed to his desire of being with a guy “who would probably bully me in high school.” In the song, he sings: “Give me a call if you ever get lonely/I’ll be like one of your girls or your homies.”

Sivan wanted to capture the complexities of his feelings regarding the ambiguous, experimental role he was expected to play during these encounters in the music video. The video had everyone buzzing for several reasons. Ross Lynch made a surprise cameo portraying the straight jock type in the video. Even more of a surprise was the fact that Troye dressed in drag, resembling a Britney Spears-type figure from the early 2000s. People on social media found themselves conflicted as to which person was more attractive and for some, it was even their “bi-awakening.”

Lastly, I want to talk about arguably my favorite song on the album, “What’s the Time Where You Are?” The song beautifully captures the theme of longing for loved ones when they are not physically present. The inspiration for this track came from Troye’s personal experiences during the strict lockdowns in Australia at the height of Covid.

Troye had a vision of infusing his album with a “global feel,” and to achieve this, he turned to his fans on Instagram. He asked them to send him voice notes, sharing conversations with him in their own unique accents and languages. These personal voice notes were then ingeniously incorporated into the song, adding a diverse and international dimension to the music. You can hear Spanish expletives followed by “What the f*ck?” throughout the song.

The album emerges from a period of break-up and extended singleness during the pandemic, and it is marked by a profound shift in Sivan’s approach to love and intimacy. While “Bloom” celebrated starry-eyed love, “Something to Give Each Other” dives into a more open, spontaneous and unapologetically erotic exploration of romance and connection. The tracks are infused with a sense of yearning and lust, both for long-distance lovers and last-call encounters, showcasing the fluidity of Sivan’s desires.

I loved every song on the album, especially the ones mentioned above. Other favorites include “In My Room” — which incorporates Spanish — “Still Got it,” “How to Stay with You” — which are more slow-paced songs that are still extremely catchy — “Silly” and “Honey,” which feature layered vocals that will have you floating amongst the clouds and. Even “Can’t Go Back Baby” will have you reminisce over a past love.

I truly think this is a no skip album from start to finish and I strongly encourage you to listen to it. It is pop perfection relatable no matter what walk of life you come from.

Michael Pastorello can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @mcpastorello.

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    KamrynnOct 26, 2023 at 9:07 am

    I love this album! I liked the way you seemed to connect with the music and also understand it. Great review!