Pride Jams: Finding Redemption In Forsaking “Heaven” With Troye Sivan
I get a little emotional when I see Troye Sivan perform. It is empowering to see someone so comfortable in their own skin on stage. His confidence reflects a world that is becoming more accepting. His presence, like that of other LGBTQ+ performers including George Michael, Adam Lambert, and Tegan & Sara, is a testament to the importance of representation and provides a mirror for fellow members of the community. Every time the “Happy Little Pill” singer does his thing, I feel like I can relate.
In fact, his debut LP Blue Neighbourhood spoke to me on a personal level. I understood to the need to be viewed as desirable over darkly pulsing trap beats on “Bite”. I connected with the conflicted longing for the comfort of home and the hunger for bigger things Troye explored on “Suburbia”. I yearned to feel the emotions expressed on “for him.” They all connected with me, but the one song that took me by surprise was the Betty Who-assisted “Heaven.” On an album of lush synth-pop, it delivered the most important message.
Produced by Jack Antonoff, the track is a twinkling reflection on Troye’s experience of coming out at 15. It captures the fear of rejection and the sweet release of being open to those that love you. Beyond that, “Heaven” tackles one of the most difficult factors of the coming out process: accepting yourself. Growing up in a Jewish household, the Australian singer/songwriter had to come to terms with his faith. It’s hard to reconcile dogma that threatens damnation with the color of your soul. How do you forsake yourself to save yourself? Here, he reveals that you don’t need to.
“Without losing a piece of me, how do I get to heaven? Without changing a part of me, who do I get to heaven? All my time is wasted, feeling like my heart’s mistaken, oh so if I’m losing a piece of me, maybe I don’t want heaven,” Troye passionately sings. In that moment, he finds redemption in forsaking the expectations of his faith to be true to himself. By doing so, he takes destiny in his hands to create his own sense of salvation. There’s no mysterious higher power there to save the day; it’s all on himself.
The music video is potentially even more powerful. Shot in black and white, it captures an intimate embrace between Troye and a lover as well as historic moments of LGBTQ+ pride and rebellion. Lovers come together to exchange vows while protestors take to the streets to continue fighting for what they believe in. Drag queens serve looks, and couples of various genders, races, and ages come together in a showing of unity. In another scene, Troye sings in a rainstorm that seems to cleanse away all his fear. Before the video fades to black, he looks up at his partner and smiles. At that moment, after being reborn with a new conviction in himself, he is free. Watch below.