words by MAREK BARTEK

Australia’s sweetheart Troye Sivan is back, giving us what might be the summer’s ultimate gay anthem “Rush”. Suggestively named after the famous poppers, Troye’s single sounds just as hot and sweaty as the accompanying video that was released with it. 

The opening scene itself, depicting a bare bum getting smacked is iconic. The redness of the cheek telling us it wasn’t the first take of this shot. The not so SFW visuals continue to unpack as we witness a scene with a glory hole, two people urinating and an impossible-to-count amount of bare asses and jockstraps. 

But the director Gordon von Steiner and director of photography Stuart Winecoff knew exactly what they were doing. Fulfilling the wish of Troye that every frame should be a gorgeous image, they gave us an aesthetic bomb full of references to famous artists. 

Starting with the cover art image that was shot by Winecoff. It presents Sivan looking sticky and sweaty, almost as if he either just took some of that Rush or was occupied with some kind of highly enjoyable activity. The photo carries similarity to the work of Peter Hujar, more specifically to his 1969’s Orgasmic Man. 

The video is a celebration of queerness. It is a party but also intimate moments, the excitement of kissing someone for the first time. All these themes flow over each other and give us a coherent story. It is hot! Charged with masculine energy, we are introduced to a chorus scene where topless men lock arms and engage in a very manly, yet homoerotic dance. All this happening while Troye Sivan’s gentle falsetto changes to almost a football chant, singing: “I feel the rush, addicted to your touch.” 

The set, the men in tracksuits pants and the overall vibes. It’s almost impossible to not see some referencing to the visual language of Wolfgang Tillmans. All that combined with quite specific warm summer hues that carry similarity to Alasdair MclEllan’s photography. 

The testosterone and gay straightness reaches its peak halfway through the video. Troye, lifted by two men and offered a funnel by another one, engages in fratboy keg stand activity. Unlike the rest of the video, this scene is more like a dynamic image. The drama brought by harsh light coming from the side, the pretty boys, it all looks like a Caravaggio painting. Just hang it in the museum already.

It wouldn’t be Troye Sivan, if there was no fashion. Stylist Larissa Bechtold brings an eclectic selection of luxury pieces like Gaultier jeans and Galliano newspaper print, mixed with 90’s sportswear. Worn lower on the hips, it reveals underwear, jockstraps and thongs. 

So exactly how many twinks is too many, you may ask? Though the video came out only a couple days ago, it already sparked some criticism over the lack of body diversity. It almost seems as if anyone with more than 10% of body fat was not allowed on the set. While the critics over the choices in casting flooded the internet, many came to defend the twink king Troye himself, including singer Charli XCX. She didn’t specifically mention any names but pointed out that “if something breaks common aesthetics it’s weird or try hard, if something conforms it’s offensive and not diverse enough.” Which side you pick, we leave up to you.