EP REVIEW: Troye Sivan – In A Dream

Through his previous two studio albums ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ and ‘Bloom’, Troye Sivan has bared his heart and soul to listeners by narrating a very personal coming-of-age story. From coming out, to experiencing a whole lot of firsts, and falling in love, he’s given you a rare and candid insight to his life and along the way helped bring comfort and reassurance to a lot of young people who are experiencing the same thing.

The global COVID-19 pandemic inspired the Australian singer-songwriter to “leak” his own music and bring forward an honest body of work he had been working on. ‘In A Dream’ is a time capsule of sorts. It reflects on a very tender and confusing time for Sivan when heartbreak surprisingly struck and he was blind sighted by all of these feelings. This EP follows that journey as he comes to terms with what was happening within his world, and hears him trying to move forward.

Opening with the lead single ‘Take Yourself Home’ he lays down the experimental DIY foundations that this EP heavily encourages. It feels like the sequel to ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ in a way because they’re not straight up pop songs, and instead have a lot of different production quirks that surprisingly change the expected direction. This song is a perfect representation of that with a brooding indie-pop meets RNB production that at the end explodes into a nostalgic EDM outro. 

Soaked in a 80’s infatuated sound, ‘Easy’ then contrasts the heaviness of infidelity though it’s honest lyrics, and a pulsating sonic that has you naturally grooving along. Beginning with it’s immediate 808 beat that takes you back to the DIY elements of garage-pop, he naturally keeps it in that realm for the full duration. Unlike it’s predecessor, the song doesn’t shift sonically with only a bit of distortion added towards the end. 

The most gimmicky intention behind this song sonically is that the ‘woo’s’ are perfectly timed. The rest of the song is quite intentional in letting the lyrics be the forefront. Transitioning into the brief interlude ‘could cry just thinkin about you’ he gives you a dreamy Cub Sport inspired moment of reflection. The doo-woop melody hears him admitting that he doesn’t want to move on, and the final lyric will linger painfully in your heart. “I don’t know who I am, with or without you, but I guess I’m bout to find out”. 

Switching up the sonic again and heading towards an underground club ready banger, ‘STUD’ is an immediate standout. But not just because of it’s playful production, because at it’s core there is a very relatable and honest commentary on gay culture. Every representation we see in recent gay culture is ripped and chiseled guys, and it’s quite confronting and demeaning to people that aren’t that because it makes us feel like we aren’t enough and that we can’t be a stud to someone. And that’s what this song addresses. 

“Hey, tough. What’s it like to be so big and strong and so buff? Everything I’m not. But could I still be a hunk to you? Enough for you, a stud to you?” he sings to a love interest while he immediately feels like he’s not enough to be attractive to that person. “Just let me believe that you like what you’re seeing when you’re looking at me” he later adds. 

Paying homage to his wild teenage years, ‘Rager teenager!’ embraces that coming of age exploration and the youthful rebellion that we all experience. Full of debauchery, this song feels like a celebration of that period in his life as he tries to really find himself in a natural and honest way. 

In an experimental indie-pop format, he switches up the production to give you something that is a little unexpected. Allowing the verses to drive the beat and flow of the song, he strips it back for the chorus to have a raw intimacy that reflects on the quiet moments where he reassures himself that it’s okay to be a little reckless in these self explorative times. Keeping it very moody and aesthetically dark, there is atmospheric synths and distorted beats that build throughout the song into an experimental outro similar to ‘Take Yourself Home’. 

Closing the EP with the title track ‘In A Dream’ he begins with an explosion of synths before a syncopated drum beat drives the rhythm of the song. This song is the final piece of the heartbreak chapter as he tries to move on and run away from it all, but the face of his ex lover is still showing up in his dreams. It’s severely relatable, and he’s interestingly made a song that is quite emotionally charged feel so upbeat and playful. 

This whole EP is an excitingly experimental affair that hears Sivan giving you pure heart and soul in a time that we need it most. There are moments to dance to, and there are moments to cry and reflect to. And people will walk away from listening to this EP feeling understood in times of darkness, and that’s a really beautiful thing.