Australia’s own Troye Sivan is one of those artists that can fly under the radar of your typical pop fan. He doesn’t have the catalog of hits that mega-stars like Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande have, but the hits he DOES have definitely land well within their respective audiences. Conversely, Sivan doesn’t necessarily have a classic album under his belt like his indie-pop contemporaries either, those being Carly Rae Jepsen’s EMOTION and Lorde’s Melodrama. With new artists rising up each and every year, it’s a wonder that he continued to maintain relevance after all this time. Now, this doesn’t mean that Sivan is an average musician or not worth listening to because, in fact, he very much is.
Sivan’s last album, 2015’s Blue Neighborhood, was one that radiated of youthful exuberance, while also showcasing the singer’s natural affinity for creating a pop hit. Songs like “WILD”, “YOUTH” and “FOOLS” felt like arena-sized anthems that could get an entire crowd up and dancing. With the help of super producer, Jack Antonoff (of FUN and Bleachers fame), Sivan’s songs feel cool, yet expansive and melodic to the core. The melodies and choruses were instantly impactful and would remain stuck in your head with every subsequent listen. He also brought a welcome surprise to the pop landscape with him revealing to the audience of his sexuality within the album as well. The influx of young LGBT popstars is frankly wonderful to see and hopefully, more of them will come out.
A few years later, Sivan releases his follow-up Bloom. An album that feels a bit late, considering the three-year gap between his debut and this new record.
Bloom does boast an improvement in Sivan’s overall songwriting and he is able to paint more vivid pictures with his lyrics than on his previous album. This album still retains the youthfulness of Blue Neighbourhood, but similarly to Lorde’s Melodrama, it’s much more mature and vulnerable. The songs on Bloom are overflowing with love-sickness and heartbreak. On “The Good Side”, for instance, Sivan dives into what happened with a relationship that ended during the recording of Blue Neighborhood. He goes into detail about how this break-up didn’t make him angry or vitriolic, but instead, it was cathartic for him. A welcome change of pace from the typical ex-boyfriend/girlfriend bashing that tends to happen with songs that delve into this kind of topic.
As Sivan sings on the bridge:
I’m sure we’ll meet in the spring
And catch up on everything
I’ll say I’m proud of all that you’ve done
You taught me the ropes, and you taught me to love
Some of the deeper cuts on Bloom also show Sivan’s more vulnerable side. The track “What a Heavenly Way to Die”, which was apparently inspired by The Smiths, sees the singer looking into future and pondering what life will be like for him and his partner. On “Lucky Strike” Sivan uses the famous cigarette brand as an analogy for his addiction to this boy that he’s in love with. These two songs are some of the best on the record, purely for the fact that they are so well-written and performed.
Sivan’s vocal performance across Bloom is absolutely incredible with nary a blunder throughout the albums 37-minute run time. On the dance-pop tracks like “My My My”, “Bloom”, and “Dance to This”, Sivan’s voice is just dripping with so much charisma one could assume that he’s a veteran who has been making pop hits for years.
While Bloom shows Troye Sivan’s more personal side, there are still many bops to be had. The album’s lead single, “My My My!”, is an absolutely stellar track that has one of the stickiest hooks on the entire record. Definitely, an earworm, to be sure. It’s one of those songs that is instantaneously memorable. “Bloom” and “Dance to This” are just as good, with the latter track featuring a wonderful performance from Ariana Grande.
Similarly to Blue Neighborhood, Bloom’s production feels more expensive and more straightforward. Sonically, there’s a blend between those aforementioned “arena-sized anthems”, acoustic ballads, and a few low-key indie-pop slow jams. This is a welcome change coming off of Blue Neighborhood, where some of the deeper cuts felt a bit tiresome and melodramatic. However, while Bloom does have some excellent moments, there are still a few parts that fall short.
The album’s opener, “Seventeen”, just manages to be average and doesn’t nearly come close to topping “WILD”, which kicked off Blue Neighbourhood. The production also feels a little too cleanly produced, which can lead to a couple of the songs feeling a bit too sterile or safe sounding. This is apparent with “Postcard” and”Plum”. Lastly, while this album is an overall improvement over his last, Bloom does feel a bit top heavy, as the latter half, besides “Dance to This”, can be a bit lacking in comparison to the beginning.
Overall, Bloom is a solid pop album and a notch in the win column for Troye Sivan. While it doesn’t necessarily have the hits that his previous album had, this record displays that Sivan is still one of pop’s most promising artists. If given the opportunity, he could probably make something that could be considered a classic down the line. Right now though, Bloom is definitely well worth your time and attention.