Something To Give Each Other

Something To Give Each Other

“I don’t really want to tell people stories,” Troye Sivan tells Apple Music. “I want to show them. I want them to feel.” At 28, the Australian artist has more than a few stories to pick from. In the years between 2018’s Bloom and this, his third full-length, he’s appeared in several films and series; collaborated with artists like Charli XCX, Lauv, Jónsi and Tate McRae; and launched a luxury lifestyle brand. But beneath those headline-makers, he simply lived his life and experienced the experiences that laid the foundations for Something to Give Each Other. “There’s 10 stories, 10 moments,” he says of the album, which took around two and a half years to complete. Between COVID and filming the TV series The Idol, he was granted a “luxury of time” he’d never had before. “It ended up serving the album really well because it gave me time to see which songs stuck around.” “I’ve felt very hopeful and joyous and connected, but there’s a lot of vulnerability as well,” Sivan says. There’s love, sex and heartbreak, the thrill of re-emerging feelings, fleeting yet vital moments of intimacy and communication. There’s a sweaty club moment (“Rush”), balmy dance pop (“Got Me Started”—which samples Bag Raiders’ definitive 2008 hit “Shooting Stars”), gentle confessionals (“Can’t Go Back, Baby”) and sensual house (“Silly”). And it’s all told through the lens of welcome self-discovery and unapologetic, undiluted queerness. Here, he talks through the stories of each song on Something to Give Each Other. “Rush” “In the moments between Melbourne lockdowns when we were able to go out, I had these nights that were so fun, they were almost emotional. There was this overwhelming joy and euphoria. I was sober and sweating and just so grateful to be with people. And grateful for music, for life, for youth and sex and connection. So I wanted to write that moment.” “What’s the Time Where You Are?” “I felt pretty emotionally dead for a while after my last relationship, and my feelings didn’t all come back in one go. There were these little sparks I started to feel, and I was so excited when I did. I was talking to this one guy and I had a little crush for the first time in ages. At one point he messaged me saying, ‘What’s the time where you are?’ Maybe I over-romanticised, but it was so sweet. Because he could definitely google that. But I saw it for what it was, I think: It was an effort at connection and keeping the conversation going. It sparked this idea of two people separated by a great distance, both out there living their lives, having a great time, but looking for each other in music or nights out or little texts like that.” “One of Your Girls” “I think this is my favourite song I’ve ever worked on. This thing kept happening where I was being approached by guys who’d previously or historically identified as straight. They were flirting with me, saying there was something in me that they were interested in. I just felt all these different things. Firstly, I was placing them on such a pedestal. I was like, why is this so hot? And also questioning myself because I’d always end up heartbroken. I think I knew I wasn’t treating myself with the respect I deserved by being the secret or the experiment. We wrote three different choruses and ended up coming to this sad robot thing, inspired by a movie I’d seen. Even that 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. Like this emotionless object. And yet there I was time and time again. You don’t want to rush them through the process of figuring shit out. This isn’t me making any sort of statement—I have patience for that experience. I’m just musing to myself about it.” “In My Room” (feat. Guitarricadelafuente) “I met Guitarricadelafuente [Álvaro Lafuente Calvo] and his boyfriend in Paris at a dinner, and they were so sweet. When I got back to the hotel, I started listening to his music and I was just really, really inspired. So I messaged him that we should write sometime. We wrote the song in one day. It’s the only collaboration on the album, and I love that it’s with a queer artist. In my head, I’m lying on my bed, kicking my legs, daydreaming about someone like I’m a teenager. It was a really nice way to write rather than trying to make narrative: We were both just communicating our feelings.” “Still Got It” “It’s about a moment where I bumped into my ex-boyfriend and realised he still had all the things that made me fall in love with him in the first place. One of my favourite lyrics on the album is ‘Said hello like an old colleague.’ It was just that weird thing where you’re like, wow, I lived with this person, I shared so much of my life with this person, and here we are greeting each other like old colleagues. It was a moment of reflection. I love collaboration and writing with people, but sometimes it’s really nice to just do it by yourself, say exactly what you feel and worry less about the stuff I normally love worrying about, like, ‘How many syllables is it? Does it work from a pop point of view?’” “Can’t Go Back, Baby” “I was pretty angry, and I’ve never really written from an angry place. I was hurt and felt betrayed. It’s a real journey throughout the song and by the end it’s like, ‘In the morning, I wake up with the sun across my face/In the evening, there I lay with so much love to take your place.’ That’s not love from other people, it’s love I have for myself, being able to show up for yourself. But sonically there’s a softness, because I still have so much care for that person, that relationship. I knew I wanted this on the album, but I was dreading writing it. When I eventually did, I was like, ‘Let’s just record this today and then I don’t want to look at it.’” “Got Me Started” “It’s the first song we wrote for the album. It was one of those moments of a spark, where someone unlocks that side of you again and you’re like, ‘Oh, I can feel.’ I love the lyric ‘Boy, can I be honest? Kinda miss using my body/Fuck it up just like this party did tonight.’ To me, it’s just this house party: You’ve met someone and for whatever reason you just can’t keep your hands off each other—and how exciting it is when that happens.” “Silly” “We had sexiness on the album in a few different ways, but one thing we didn’t have was icy, cool sexy—something that just really simmers. I was surprised by the lyrics that came. It ended up being about how someone can get you back into your feelings for them in two seconds. It almost touches on the story of ‘Still Got It’. I’ve sung in falsetto as a layer a lot throughout my music, but never as a lead vocal. Here, we started off with that falsetto as a layer, and I was going to track under it, but we left it alone up there. So I essentially got to duet with myself, which was so cool.” “Honey” “‘Honey’ started in Melbourne with [producer] Styalz Fuego and the Serenity Prayer. My dad taught it to me when I was a kid. One of the lines is something like ‘Give me the courage to accept things I cannot change.’ I love the idea of having these really strong feelings for someone and not knowing how to express them, and almost saying a prayer—even though I’m very irreligious. ‘Give me the courage to say all these things I feel about you.’ It just felt very joyous, like the confetti moment at the show.” “How to Stay With You” “It’s really cruisy and mellow, it’s got saxophone on it. It’s about someone I met who ended up leaving, and I was a bit lost on how to stay with them, because I wanted to, but it didn’t seem possible. There was something interesting to me about putting it at the end. Throughout all the experiences and people on the album, I still have this longing and desire to find a long-term relationship. When it fades out in the outro, the last lyrics on the album are these little background vocals: ‘Starting again when I got all I wanted/Starting to feel a little bit despondent.’ I still haven’t found the thing I’m looking for. It doesn’t negate these prior experiences and how beautiful they are, but I’m still looking. I thought it was a very real way to end it. 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. But I don’t know what that is yet.”

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