REVIEW: Troye Sivan’s “Something To Give Each Other” Encapsulates Queer Sexuality, Desire, and Joy
November 2, 2023
Credit: Harper's Bazaar
Troye Sivan released his third studio album Something To Give Each Other on October 13, 2023. The album continues to depict the heartwarming journey of the Australian singer-songwriter growing into adulthood and exploring his sexuality.
Sivan publicly came out as gay on his YouTube channel at age 18. This preceded the launch of his official music career, when he signed with EMI Australia later in 2013. Sivan told People magazine in 2022 that he chose to come out before kick starting his career to give himself control over his story.
“I didn’t want anyone to take [coming out] away from me,” Sivan said. “I wanted to start going out and going to gay clubs and meeting boys, and I wanted to write songs about love that were true and genuine.”
Sivan’s first studio album Blue Neighborhood was released in 2015 and details his early experiences as a gay teen in the suburbs of Perth. Blue Neighborhood is about the struggles of queer youth, as seen in “TALK ME DOWN,” and the giving up of one’s youth for love, as seen in “YOUTH.”
In his second studio album, Bloom, Sivan’s lyrical content began to mature. He writes about new sexual experiences and “blooming” for a lover, as described in the title track. Bloom is a metaphor-heavy ode to formative experiences and forever-and-always’.
Now, a decade after his YouTube coming out video, Sivan releases Something To Give Each Other, an open and honest collection of anecdotes of queer sex and relationships. In 10 gorgeous tracks, Sivan displays his embrace of sexuality in all its forms as well as the meaning he takes out of even the shortest relationships he shares with others.
Following a devastating breakup in 2019, Sivan found himself single and excited to “re-meet” himself, as he explained in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.
“I started to have these encounters with people, and I was just really, really enjoying myself,” Sivan told Fallon. “I started to feel this connection to not just myself but to everyone and to realize how beautiful even a relationship that lasts a few hours can be.”
The first single and opening track of the album is “Rush,” a song that does just as it says: exhilarates listeners with a rush of energy. The song establishes the album’s euphoric, club-like sound. The music video depicts scenes of pure, unadulterated queer joy, featuring an addictive choreography sequence during the chorus that juxtaposes the unfiltered, sensual dancing of Sivan and his fellow partygoers. All the listener can do is get up and dance along; queer listeners yearn to hear “Rush” in a similar setting to that of the music video and share in Sivan’s experience.
“Got Me Started” was the second single released, and it noticeably features a sampling of “Shooting Stars” by Bag Raiders, a song known for being the track to a popular meme of people flying through space. The end of the music video seemingly mirrors the idea of the meme, with Sivan chaotically running through a city in an iridescent silver suit. “Got Me Started” continues the upbeat vibe of the album, conveying the ‘resurrection’ of Sivan’s romantic life from his prior state of heartbreak. Again accompanied by stellar choreography, it hints at one hell of a show for when Sivan next goes on tour.
Something To Give Each Other is not all sunshine and rainbows, however. The third single, “One Of Your Girls,” was released along with the entire project, and it is about Sivan’s experiences with “guys who’d previously or historically identified as straight,” as he told Zane Lowe in an Apple Music interview. The chorus features a robotic tone to convey Sivan’s experienced submission to being someone’s “secret,” allowing them to treat him like “one of their girls,” and not feeling worthy as himself.
“Even (the robotic tone of the chorus) spoke to the way I’d felt: like I was expected to be there when they wanted me, then disappear when they freaked out, then be there again when they wanted,” Sivan told Lowe, “like this emotionless object. And yet there I was, time and time again.”
Sivan even literally transforms himself into “one of the girls” in the video, appearing in drag and serving a look that embodies that of 90s and early 2000s ‘It’ girls such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
The album conveys several specific, intimate feelings that all people, regardless of their sexual preferences, can resonate with. “Still Got It” is about running into an ex-partner and noticing that they still have many of the same characteristics that caused one to fall in love with them all those years ago. “Honey” is about the experience of having such strong feelings for a person that one finds themselves nearly praying for the courage and ability to express them.
“How To Stay With You” is the final track, and it leaves the album with an open-ending. Sivan writes about a heartbreak that he wasn’t ready to let go of. It elegantly shows that while Sivan found beauty in his short-term relationships and various encounters during this period of his life, he still longs for a long-term relationship.
“I thought it was a very real way to end it,” Sivan told Lowe. “I’m on this journey, I’m really happy and I’m enjoying every second of it. I'm so grateful for all the connections, and I’m curious to see what happens next.”
Overall, Troye Sivan’s Something To Give Each Other unapologetically portrays the charm and loveliness of queer sexual and romantic experiences of all kinds. His depiction of queer love was a tasteful one that will hopefully continue to shape the music released by LGBTQ+ artists. Fans of Sivan are thrilled to see what the artist does next.