A courageous triumph of queer pop, Troye Sivan emerges to the mainstream with Bloom, an emotional journey of an album that takes us through the whole nine yards of human emotion and back again. If this isn’t any indication, we implore you to give it a good spin—stat.
Yes, Troye Sivan’s sophomore album is a triumph of delicious queer pop. Making no apologies about it, the Aussie singer doesn’t just traipse along the universals and the tropes with a duplicitous use of ambiguous imagery and pronouns. Instead, he goes balls to the wall with vigor and vibrancy, taking reins of the plights, pleasures and pop equivalents for the LGBTQIA+ community. No longer the meek and tame young’un wailing the travails, woes and subsequent victories of coming-of-age, Troye Sivan emerges after three years, following up to the achingly beautiful and gut-wrenching storytelling of Blue Neighborhood with Bloom. A fitting encapsulation of the entire 10-track, 37 minute-long album, he decidedly sheds a tender naïveté, and well, mans up for this turn, owning every sense of the word—society be very well damned.
While it speaks to a void that has long been skirted around for years on end, the current release is by no means exclusive to the community. In fact, several dedicated spins of the songs will reveal that the themes and narratives are something that everyone can relate to. And there lies the greater success for Troye Sivan. By speaking to a specific set, shedding light on the intricacies and nuances that the rest of the comfortable status quo isn’t privy to, he fills a space that has been surreptitiously waylaid, as well as making the rest feel things they never thought would feel.
Bloom opens to a cavernous 80s-style awning of gentle synths with Seventeen, a seemingly sung muttering under a breath that builds to a confident drum line and twinkling melody. It is a reflective tug-of-war of modesty and being cavalier in the context of grown up sex with an older man. “I went out looking for love when I was seventeen, maybe a little too young, but it was real to me,” he sings. “And in the heat of the night, saw things I’d never seen.” A strike from left field, Troye Sivan rides this swell of courage and pummels through the album with a thoughtful crescendo and decrescendo of tempo and temperament. The pop chart mainstay, My My My!, is the gust of wind that picks up the pace in a tunnel of dance and passion. Here, we begin to see Sivan at his prime, strutting along, while reminding his object of affection to “stop running from love.”
With a firm grip on the listener, he takes us along for an introspective ride with the haunting The Good Side, before thrusting us to the titular track, Bloom. Another sly wink with an innuendo of the sexual sort, it references a garden coming into full bloom, but coddled within is a breath of repression escaping his lips and in place, an awakening is replaced in an upbeat turn. As if we haven’t been through the wringer and back, we are transported back to a place of quiet, with nothing but a piano bursting through the still. “I sent you a postcard from Tokyo baby. You never picked it up. I even wrote it in Japanese, baby, you didn’t give a fuck,” he coos. While it may sound like a bitter entendre, he follows up with a sharp slick of grit that edges out the dainty and poetic percussion quite nicely. “Don’t put me back down like it’s nothing to ya.” This a clear highlight of the album, as it is a soaring of new heights for Troye Sivan. Distilled but daring, it sums up and realizes that whisper of untold that lingers deep within the chasms of our souls. Speaking with a voice so clear and confident, he has lifted us all up—putting people, as well as the feelings and emotions in the right place. If this isn’t maturity, I don’t know what is anymore at this point.
The last half hits a no-holds-barred, kilometric stride with memorable ditties such as the Ariana Grande-partnered Dance To This (“Under the kitchen lights, you still look like dynamite. And I wanna end up on you”), the cheeky truncation of beats that belies the intrinsic pain of Plum (“Jealous, you can sleep, you’ve been keeping me up and I mouth the words.I think I wanna speak. Instead, I’m wasting my time just pressing rewind”), the stripped down and soul-baring What A Heavenly Way To Die (“When our promise has come and gone. And our youth is all but melted, melted. We can listen to this song”), and the sparkling lucid follow-up to a groggy dream-like trance in Lucky Strike (“Oh, I wanna tip toe through your bliss, boy. Get lost the more I find ya”).
Coming full circle to punctuate the restraint and risque of Bloom, Troye Sivan slivers in his last song, Animal. “An ode to the boy I love,” this ballad lulls you to a soul-stirring sway, forcing you to come face-to-face with feelings unbridled. Requited or unrequited, it doesn’t really matter for the song’s point-of-view. A selfish sort of romance, it continues to taunt: “Boy, I’ll die to care for you. You’re mine, mine, mine, tell me who do I owe that to?”A euphoric anthem of love that isn’t pandering or cloying, it is a realistic profession of a heart bursting at the seams. It is carnal, as with emotions, but this is not laced with lust, make no mistake about it. It is a primal thirst to love and be loved that serves as a beaming light that calls us all home. A human condition, it doesn’t see any label, delineation or segregation. A uniting force in music, it reminds us of the universal ability of music to bring people together in a shared space, moment and experience.
Troye Sivan is a force to be reckoned with, and his current passion project is a true reflection of that, as well as his state of mind and the generation he speaks to. There’s no other way to say it, he certainly comes to full bloom—and that’s an exhausted blurb we’re willing to resuscitate for a young man who has revived disregarded and unseated welts of human truth and making us all come to terms with it. That’s just it, whether we like it or not, feelings will always resonate. And there isn’t anything we can do about it, except well, to soak it all up and dance to it when we can.