Music Reviews

Reflection And Contemplation In Troye Sivan’s “In A Dream” EP

Perhaps an indication of how conflicted Troye Sivan feels about his current state, the In A Dream EP captures a variety of contrasting emotions: one second, Troye is singing a soft, beautiful tune as he thinks about his ex; in the next moment, he is sultrily crooning to someone he finds attractive, unclear about whether he wants to do him or be him.

In any case, the EP is quintessentially Troye: vulnerable and honest, even as the sound dips into electronic pop.

While Blue Neighbourhood tells the story of Troye’s teenage years and Bloom delves into his quest for love coming to an end, In A Dream is significantly more reflective, sentimentally looking back on where things went wrong and taking steps to change for the better.

In doing this, the EP stitches together a small journey: a journey back home, as established by the opening track itself.

Take Yourself Home, the first song on the In A Dream EP, was released on the 1st of April as the lead single, and the video was preceded by an open call for freelance graphic designers and animation artists that were interested in collaborating with Troye.

The song — perhaps the most consequential one in the entire EP — sees Troye deciding to leave behind his life in Los Angeles and going back home, to where he came from.

The lyrics “If I’m gonna die, let’s die somewhere pretty” showcase Troye’s emerging feelings of detachment from the lifestyle he has created for himself in the last few years. He feels the need to reconnect with his roots, and seems to have done so, successfully — if his newest Instagram posts are anything to go by.

Being back in Australia during isolation, he says, brought him to the realisation that he can make music from pretty much anywhere in the world, and he was only in LA because he felt like he needed to be. Now, he explains, he has his work and some sort of emotional fulfillment to show for it.

The second track, Easy is different from Take Yourself Home in its theme. While Troye’s debut album Blue Neighbourhood had a song called Ease on it, the themes of Ease and Easy are also drastically different, almost worlds apart.

Easy, stunningly honest and painful,traces the deterioration of Troye’s relationship with his boyfriend — almost foreshadowed by the track Plum from Troye’s last album Bloom, in which he sings, “Even the sweetest plum has only got so long.”

In Easy, Troye implies infidelity on his part, heartbreakingly begging his partner to not leave him.

The following song, could cry just thinkin about you, is arguably the most vulnerable on the record — an interlude of sorts, the 52 second track unveils the outcome of their last argument. Troye and his partner have broken up, and the wound is still fresh.

This song is my personal favourite on the record, solely because of how purely it conveys what Troye feels.

It is impossible to not feel Troye’s pain as he sings, “Every line I write?is?something about you, every?guy I want looks something just?like you”, and finally realises that he’s going to find out who he is now, without the love of his life.

The next track, STUD, is a deviation from their relationship, focusing on body issues and the need for validation within the gay community, as well as the desire for sex.

Troye is simultaneously envious of and attracted to someone who “has all the muscles and features he wants.”

He wonders what it’s like to be big and strong, and is clearly unsure of himself in the way that he keeps repeating, “You’re into this, right?”

The song also has stronger elements of EDM, and explores dubstep.

The third single from the EP, Rager teenager! sees Troye reminiscing over his teenage years and the person that he used to be. He says that he is speaking to the part of himself that he had forgotten, the part that used to be full of hope for the future.

He also mentions “the season of screaming”, what is assumed to be the time he was coming to terms with being gay — a journey his first album is loosely based off.

The last song from the In A Dream EP, is another one that stands out to me as classic Troye. It’s everything about it — from the slightly poppy tune to the lyrics. In A Dream is the perfect closing track, with Troye reflecting on the end of his relationship, and everything that has happened since then, with a calmer mindset.

He sings about how he still sees his ex boyfriend in his dreams, but he knows he made the right choice, even if it was the hardest thing he ever had to do.

With his music, Troye Sivan always manages to explore newer sounds while also retaining the essence of his music. There is something so genuine and organic about the words he sings, that it is impossible to detach him from them. As a person, too, he manages to come across as grounded and determined to grow.

When Troye creates, he has something to say — and he always manages to say it remarkably.

The EP leaves the listener feeling wistful — if not deeply sad — as it ends. The person Troye is singing about breaking up with is the same person he thought he would spend his life with, the same person he wrote beautiful tracks like Lucky Strike and Animal about.

There is unimaginable power in making someone else feel the ups and downs of his relationship, and finally, the loss of his breakup, and leaving them poring over his ex’s Instagram account while feeling a hollow in their chest as they look at the pet dog that belonged to both Troye and his ex-boyfriend.

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Saachi Gupta is an LGBTQ+ activist, animal lover and the author of 'With Love, or Something Like That.' She is a strong believer in equality amongst mankind.
Saachi Gupta

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