top of page

Something to Give Each Other - Troye Sivan

Five years since his last studio release, Troye Sivan returns with new album Something to Give Each Other. Whilst the album comes off the heels of Sivan's break-up with his long-term partner, he told Vanity Fair that it is not about break-ups but instead about "what happened afterwards". Having already received critical success for its pop hits addressing themes of sex, love and sexuality - what did our writers make of Sivan's latest offering?


 a close up shot of a sun-kissed Troye Sivan with messy wet blonde hair. His eyes are closed, lips slightly parted. His head is resting on his hands as he turns towards the sun, a look of bliss on his face. We can just see white sheets behind him. A strip of pink and orange run across the bottom



Sophie

Let’s start from a place of honesty: I’m not the best person to write a review of new music. In fact, I have a flimsy grasp of anything newer than about 2016. Listening to new music, particularly a whole album, can be pretty hard work. I went into this experience with no expectations, being a newcomer to Troye Sivan’s work. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for pop music, but I found it largely repetitive and annoying. The auto tune, high tempo beats and vibrant synths grated on me.


As a fellow Australian, I wanted to like it purely from a patriotic stand point.

I kept listening out for the familiar twang and instead found myself forgetting that he’s Australian. His voice mostly has that sort of generic, nondescript but vaguely American pop cadence to it. But hey, it’s not Sivan’s fault that I’m homesick and wanted some more southern hemisphere brogue coming through the tracks, so I’m not sure I can fairly hold that against him. To me it just didn’t have some of the distinctive Australian flavour that other artists deliver. Whilst I initially found the experience of listening to this album wholly jarring and irritating, Sivan does have an unusual voice for a popstar - one that I found oddly appealing. His soft, breathy, almost conversational style of singing has an intimacy to it, particularly in the track ‘Silly’.


The storytelling of ‘Still Got It’, a slower paced and rhythmic track, really drew me in. It felt like something more was going on and brought some emotional depth. This song nicely articulates that feeling of bumping into an ex and realising that you’ve gone from intimate to complete strangers - “I saw you at a party, said hello like an old colleague. Talked about the summer when we didn’t know each other.” A feeling that is pretty universal. What really got me was the clarity and pain of the moment, in the pre-chorus Sivan mournfully sings “was bound to happen, I suppose, but fuck me, now I really know.” At the most basic level, isn’t this why we engage with art? To hear our feelings captured and reflected back, to know we’re not alone?


You won’t really find any big belting pop anthem on this album, and most of the lyrics aren’t the most interesting or inspiring. The closing track slows things right down and introduces a saxophone to the mix…which definitely felt out of place and a bit of a lull to finish on. Overall, the lyrics aren’t ground-breaking but they’re full of sex, love and desire. There are plenty of fun tracks on this album. I can’t say that I loved this album, and it certainly hasn't changed my life, but it’s inoffensive and catchy, there’s a few songs on it I’d happily listen to in the car or at a party, and what more can you really ask from a pop musician?



Trove Sivan is in the middle of line of five men, they are all interlocking arms. They are all mid-jump. Several are shirtless.
Screencap from Troye Sivan's 'Rush' MV (2023)




Florence


I’m a long-time fan of Troye Sivan’s work. It’s by no means a wholly perfect offering, but nevertheless one which is constantly evolving and growing in confidence with each new release added to his discography. The honesty of Sivan’s songwriting is what I enjoy most. Perhaps mistaken for being plain at times, his lyrics are often clear and to the point. The closest he comes to getting metaphorical is the occasional double entendre (his 2018 single ‘Bloom’, for example), which may sound like I’m criticising Sivan’s writing as surface level, but I like it exactly for how frank it is. Sivan’s latest release, Something to Give Each Other, is similarly lyrically simplistic but undoubtedly his strongest album yet.


‘Rush’ did make me smile. Sivan began his career with ‘Happy Little Pill’, a single about antidepressants, now older and more assured in himself he returns with a banger about doing poppers (a 2018 single about bottoming, a 2023 pop-hit about poppers, will we see a Pr[EP] in 2028?). It really is a true earworm of a tune - I spent the whole of my September with the inescapable hook “I feel the rush, addicted to your touch” burrowing further and further into my brain. At this point I want it out of there, but I couldn’t remove it if I tried. It evades my grasp with the same lythe, rhythmic movement of the dancers featured in its music video. Whilst we're here, I do want to address the video as it brought about some controversy surrounding the lack of body diversity. I was disappointed, I admit, that a video intending to depict a gay club scene shied away from presenting a more realistic picture of the body diversity within the gay community. It is a shame to see this wasn’t given more thought, especially due to often rigid (and unreasonable) beauty standards within the community. Was I surprised to see this lack of nuance from Troye Sivan? Not particularly. I was equally unsurprised by how quickly the controversy went away. Nevertheless, I do hope that the discussion continues, and in the longer term to see a wider scope of queer experiences finding a space within the mainstream music scene.


On the lighter side of controversial choices in this album, the sample in ‘Got Me Started’ took me a few listens to appreciate. Sivan’s choice to use ‘Shooting Star’ by Bag Raiders is a pretty random one. I’d never considered it a piece of music to actually listen to, more so the backing track to an old 2017 meme. But, somehow, it finds new life here. I now can’t imagine it without Sivan’s accompanying vocals. This song reminded me of a previous release of Sivan’s, ‘My My My!’ (2018), which has a similar theme of lust and sexual celebration. ‘Got Me Started’ feels like the finished version of that song. It’s more confident, both in the boldness of the lyrics (“Boy, can I be honest? Kinda miss using my body” vs the more coy, blushing “Oh, my my my!”) but also in the quirkiness of the sample. I loved ‘My My My!’ at the time of its release, and couldn’t understand why it didn’t have more mainstream success. Having now heard this new track, I can see what was missing before.


A strong selection of tracks that celebrate sexuality, love and the relationship with the self. I think with art that talks about queer experience, there can sometimes be an expectation for it to be 'groundbreaking' in some way. This is definitely not a word that applies here; we are undoubtedly treading familiar ground. The lyrics are simple, the tracks are reliably catchy and the topics are relatable. That's is exactly why I like it. Troye Sivan gives us something, and I am gladly taking it.






Edited by Florence Strang Boon and Abbie Reeve.




60 views

Recent Posts

See All

Ripley

Comentarios


bottom of page