Friday, July 13th, 2018

Troye Sivan ft. Ariana Grande – Dance to This

Next on Ariana Gran-Day, a woozy (or just muddled) outing with Troye…

Vikram Joseph: If there’s such a thing as the “national mood”, it’s hovered somewhere between bleak and dismal in the UK for the last couple of years. The summer of 2018, then, has felt like the most unlikely, heady sunstroke dream: the sun seems to have shone almost continuously for about two months, the parks are full, the festivals have been banging, there haven’t been any major national security incidents and, for a giddy fortnight or so, it almost seemed plausible that Football might actually be Coming Home. Since “Dance To This” entered the world, I’ve been listening to it on public transport, while running, blaring it from my bedroom window onto the high street – it’s the consummate soundtrack to this strange, sweaty summer reverie; a euphoric, humid, shimmering jam which feels both inclusive and deeply, searingly intimate, with a lush, sticky hook which pretty much drives me wild. Ariana Grande’s verse is perfectly understated, and even the spoken-word middle 8, which seems a mis-step initially, is fully validated when it reappears triumphantly in the outro. Although it’s a male-female duet, there’s still a subtle, indelible queerness to “Dance To This”. It’s a celebration of intense physical and emotional attraction, of two people being there in the moment and not wanting anything or anybody else, and as with a lot of queer love songs, there’s a breathless subtext which reads “I can’t believe we get to have this”. It feels so ethereal, so preternaturally wonderful, that you almost fear for its permanence, but this will stick around long after this wild summer’s faded out.

Julian Axelrod: The aching guitar line brings to mind, of all things, the Edge. But rather than chase U2’s bombastic maximalism, Oscar Holter turns that anthemic reach inwards for an ode to the hushed intimacy one can only find at home. I think my first few listens were clouded by the clout; when you hit play on a Troye Sivan and Ariana Grande duet, you expect something big and bright and relentlessly catchy. But that makes “Dance to This” all the more impressive. You don’t expect two artists of this stature to sound so anonymous and subdued. That may sound like a slight, but it’s integral to the spirit of the song: two lovers hidden from the world, stripped of all artifice, sharing one fleeting moment of true connection.

Matias Taylor: Less is more on this breezy 90s-inspired dance track, which finds Troye and Ariana exchanging seductive lyrics anchored by a dreamy guitar riff that recalls “Til I Come”-era ATB. They both fit this sound like a glove, Troye all detached confidence and Ariana all understated desire, and they never attempt to overwhelm the thing as it gently pulses forward, subtly increasing the tension like a dance that might lead to more. Then comes the clever fade out, which suggests just that.

Claire Biddles: It’s a neat trick to set a song that is definitely not about dancing to a beat that’s almost impossible to dance to. The only movements suggested here are coquettish shuffles, drawn-out second-guesses, a potential touch of a hip — the telepathic signals of sexual inevitability. It’s apt that Ariana Grande guests, as “Dance to This” shares the anticipation of “Into You”, but expressed with a restraint fit for Troye Sivan’s sultry vocals. The 15-second thrill of the middle eight is unmistakable as a glimpse of the wild pleasures that are just out of our reach; that could be ignited by the honesty and bravery of our fingertips on a stranger’s skin.

Katherine St Asaph: Troye Sivan and Ariana Grande are well-matched as duet partners, in that they’re both mushmouthed to the point of drowsiness; one wonders how they’ve got the energy to move their lips, let alone dance. The instrumental, the midpoint of the xx and Views-era Drake, is equally low-key — until the bridge. The synths disappear, percussion crashes (even if it kind of sounds like a rickroll), Sivan pants, and he and Grande trade off muttered vocals like “Promiscuous” or MNEK’s excellent “Tongue.” For 15 seconds, Troye Sivan delivers on his hype — then, as if realizing that his song suddenly got charged and interesting, he retreats to chillville. Oh well — this sounds like a job for a remix!

Will Adams: It’s now setting in that Troye Sivan’s music will always be cloaked in production fog, whether with pads blanketing everything or his sighed vocal. It’ll be fine — I’ll survive — and I can just hope for the occasion where the songwriting backs it up or a remix offers a different twist.

Juana Giaimo: Troye Sivan’s previous singles of his upcoming album were all about a powerful straightforward chorus. But  “Dance to This” is seductive and builds an intimate sound — unfortunately, the short bridge breaks the atmosphere with semi-robotic vocals.

Alfred Soto: Relying on a lower register at this stage in Troye Sivan’s development is a sign of confidence; he murmurs his desires before unleashing a croon as delicately forceful as smoke from an exhaust. I’m not sure why his profile needed a duet with Ariana Grande — what kind of signals does he want to send after his last single celebrated bottoming?

Stephen Eisermann: Troye continues to serve mood and attitude and style this era, even if the project has felt melodically weaker. “Dance to This” still feels really gay, but it is so stylistically elevated that it almost feels high fashion among the rest of his music and Ariana matches the mood well. It’s glitz, it’s glam, it’s fashion, baby.

Reader average: [5.3] (10 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “Troye Sivan ft. Ariana Grande – Dance to This”

  1. What a lovely music video. It definitely made the song