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Review: Sivan makes us feel the rush

Courtesy Capitol Records

By Hugo Gerbich-Pais     10/17/23 11:54pm

Review: ★★★★½.

Listening to Troye Sivan’s new album makes me want to go down under. The Australian singer-songwriter released his newest album, “Something To Give Each Other,” Oct. 13, marking his third full-length release. Sivan gives us a blissful, eclectic album that celebrates queer culture and demonstrates that pop music can be lustful, escapist and perfect for the club.

The album opens with “Rush,” a song that puts listeners in a dancing mood with a strong, energizing techno beat. The song is named after the eponymous poppers brand — a chemical inhalant that has been a hallmark of queer party and sex culture since the 1970s. Beyond just the party drug, “Rush” is about the anticipation of meeting a lover and the electric energy you feel once your bodies finally touch. 

This sense of anticipation and release is mimicked in the song’s chorus. In the last line of the verses, the steady drum beat is replaced by piano chords. It is then quickly overwhelmed in the chorus by a strong high-hat-esque beat and a rich harmony as Sivan sings about feeling the rush. 

“What’s The Time Where You Are” has softer verses and longing lyrics that mark a tonal shift towards a dreamy and more desperate moment. The song also repeats an edited sample of speech in Spanish, which foreshadows the albums fourth track, “In My Room.” Guitaricadelafuente, whose real name is Alvaro Lafuente Calvo, collaborated with Sivan to write the song. It opens with a breathy verse from Lafuente Calvo, establishing the song’s easygoing vibe. This lazy atmosphere is reflected in the song lyrics themselves, where Sivan and Lafuente Calvo sing about a lazy day in bed, ruminating about a lover. 

Sivan’s songwriting and vocal talent is truly demonstrated in the album’s choruses, though. In “One of Your Girls,” Sivan’s chorus is an incredibly pleasing multi-part harmony and slightly edited to provide even more depth. This contrasts exquisitely with his verses, which feature intimate moments where Sivan is just talking to his listeners with only a guitar in the background. This juxtaposition keeps the audience engaged, and it’s easy to groove to the chorus in the afterglow following Sivan whispering into your soul.

“Got Me Started” begins with heavily synthesized — and even catchier — horns, which are a sample from Bag Raider’s song “Shooting Stars.” Sivan sings about that tantalizing feeling when you realize you have fallen for someone, and the chorus features heavily distorted vocals. Impressively, however, it retains its “sing-ability.”

“Honey” begins with a few twanging guitar chords, which should not match the rest of the song’s aching, lustful and concupiscent lyrics yet fit right in. Throughout the verses, Sivan’s voice glides up at the end of lines which keeps the song’s momentum and conveys his desire to get closer to that special person. Small breaks of electronic dance music intersperse the song and ground it to the rest of the album’s sound. 

“Something To Give Each Other” ends with an allusion to Sivan’s second studio album, “Bloom.” In the opening lines of “How To Stay With You,” Sivan lets us know that we can “cut [his] garden down.” This is a striking reference to “Bloom,” the titular track of the album where Troye invites his audience, instead, to “take a trip into my garden.” Seemingly, Sivan has found someone and doesn’t care for anyone else. A vibrant saxophone solo fades in and out during the song’s last minute, which gives it an escapist and undeniably romantic feel — it’s a heavenly way to finish an album. 

“Something To Give Each Other” does give something to everyone. The album fits right into the oeuvre of nightlife music but still maintains an impressive emotional depth. For every moment that you could be dancing up-and-down to these songs, Sivan also gives us space to cry or spiral alone.

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