This article was originally published on Popjuice.
Buckle up, you’re in Troye Sivan’s head now.
The 25 year-old Australian singer’s EP, ‘In a Dream’, drops today—a seven track collection that sees him navigate feelings of heartbreak, desire and liberation.
Opener ‘Take Yourself Home’, released back in April, was an early indication that this body of work would see the singer at his most experimental. The song starts off as a mellow, guitar-backed affair but gradually gains momentum, ending in a cacophonous instrumental of techno bass and percussion. And with lines like “If I’m gonna die / let’s die somewhere pretty”, the song is quite unlike the more tender, sentimental lyricism that we’ve come to know Sivan for.
The sad banger experience continues with ‘Easy’, about a relationship ruined by infidelity. You’d be hard-pressed not to find yourself bobbing to the beat despite the gloomy lyrics, because Sivan has made it, well, easy. It’s an 80s-influenced summer song fit for road trip playlists, with a singalong chorus to boot. And the accompanying music video is also all sorts of dark and wonderful.
That’s not to say that the album has no outright upbeat and euphoric moments, however. The nostalgic ‘Rager teenager!” is a look back at reckless youth, right down to its title. Playing like a more chirpy and carefree cousin to ‘Easy’, the song is Sivan speaking to his younger self and longing for the days of youth past. He charts a period of throwing caution to the wind, aided, just like ‘Take Yourself Home’, by the song’s bizarrely blissful instrumental outro.
The most impressive moments that come from the EP, however, are from its previously unreleased tracks. The short but sweet interlude ‘could cry just thinking about you’ puts you in a dream-like state, with Sivan’s muffled voice echoing from faraway. The gritty ‘STUD’ is the album’s unabashed sex dream, a 90s house track that plays like a thematic continuation of 2018’s ‘Bloom’. This time, however, Sivan is playing the role of tempter rather than creature of submission. And clock the apple metaphor, which will surely please the peach-loving ‘Call Me By Your Name’ fans everywhere. Here, Sivan compares the carnal act of sexual desire to Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.
Where most albums often end on a sombre, melancholic note, the exact opposite is the case for ‘In a Dream’. Its closer, the title track, is perhaps the most pop-leaning of the lot. “Guess I might understand it / If you don’t listen to me / Would’ve thought it was obvious / You don’t show up in a dream,” he sings in the chorus. It’s a highlight of the album, and probably the punchiest song of his discography. Once known for more subdued, mid-tempo balladry, this song is Sivan breaking out of that mould. Again, the 80s influence is undeniable here, and the result is a huge stomper of a track, and a memorable earworm of a closer.
‘In a Dream’ is Sivan’s way of processing both the highs and lows of a period in his life—by seeing them as imaginary, he acknowledges them to be impermanent, for better or for worse. In a Billboard interview earlier this month, he revealed that the EP was born out of a difficult period he was going through, and that though the songs sound different, they were all instrumental in helping him get through each day. Displaying maturity in terms of both sound and storytelling, ‘In a Dream’ is a promising direction for an artist still in the midst of experimenting. And if this is how Troye Sivan’s dreams are like, then we don’t wanna wake up just yet.
Photography by Alex La Cruz