Although Bloom was released at the tail end of August, it has continued to receive praise and deserves to be reviewed, especially in the run-up to the Christmas season.
“He has proved himself to be a confident, liberated, and exciting performer”
From humble beginnings on YouTube, Troye Sivan has been making waves in the entertainment industry and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. Now collaborating with the likes of Ariana Grande, Jonsi, and Charli XCX, he has charged onto the music scene and proved himself to be a confident, liberated, and exciting performer. His second studio album, Bloom, continues this track record of creative and powerful artistry.
“Bloom marks a clear step up for Sivan both musically and thematically”
Coming three years after a handful of well-received EPs and debut album Blue Neighbourhood in 2015, Bloom marks a clear step up for Sivan both musically and thematically. Blue Neighbourhood made certain his potential as a fresh face on the pop scene, and in perhaps a brave move for the now 23-year-old singer, was an album filled with themes of struggle, heartbreak, and loss. In the years since, Sivan has transformed into a self-assured icon with a message that he’s unafraid to share, and Bloom definitely mirrors this change.
“Bloom is an album about discovery, reflection, and unabashed desire”
Opening with the dreamy, introspective, and refreshingly frank ‘Seventeen’, the stakes for the album are established right away—Bloom is an album about discovery, reflection, and unabashed desire. Electronic vibes echo through the track alongside Sivan’s smooth, sleek vocals, leading easily into ecstatic pop hit ‘My My My!’, the album’s lead single. A catchy chorus blends remarkably well with the heady, sex-driven verses. Sivan stated that he wanted the song to make you ‘move the way you’ve always wanted to’, and the song captures that sense of freedom with ease.
“Sivan is able to mix personal, wistful ballads with carnal dancefloor pop”
But Bloom isn’t just about Sivan’s new-found and worked-for sense of liberation. It’s also a tentative, retrospectively therapeutic ode to past love. The slow, meandering acoustics of ‘The Good Side’ takes him through a bittersweet recollection of a relationship, and an acknowledgement of all the hurt involved, a note which lingers on through the rest of the album. This proves that Sivan is able to mix personal, wistful ballads with carnal dancefloor pop in a way that many artists might not be able to pull off.
‘Bloom’ and the Gordi-featured ‘Postcard’ continue this pattern, bring punchy beats first and following with a mellow, piano-led track. Next, the popular Ariana Grande collaboration ‘Dance To This’, which calls back to 80s R&B, pits Sivan against another pop powerhouse, but not once does he falter. His sensual baritone mixes perfectly with Grande’s commanding vocals to create a dance-worthy song that is both breathy and sharp all at once.
“Sivan allows himself to be boldly personal with a confidently assured voice and strong lyrical form”
The album lulled for some with the following tracks, ‘Plum’, ‘What A Heavenly Way To Die’, and ‘Lucky Strike’, and though on the surface they seem to be fairly similar-sounding songs, repeated and attentive listening reveals a depth to the lyrics of each which makes them deserving of attention. They’re sultry, sweet, and gauzy listens, commanding you to dance under neon lights in a smoke-filled club, to embrace love and lust without shame or regret. Sivan allows himself to be boldly personal with a confidently assured voice and strong lyrical form.
Bloom ends with ‘Animal’, a slow-paced, disco-inspired ode to Prince’s iconic style, and to Sivan’s boyfriend, Jacob Bixenman. The 4:25 minute-long track is longer than typical pop songs, beginning quiet and soft before launching into passionate lyrics about love and desire. The song has an intoxicating warmth to it, infused with quivering guitar notes, ribbons of piano melodies, and surging vocals, rounding off the album with what Sivan called an ‘80s stadium love song’.
“His lyrics are thoughtful and poignant, the album fluid and yet cohesive”
Thematically, Bloom is tied together so closely it’s unmistakable who and what Sivan is singing about, but in terms of the vocals, rhythms, and tones offered, it demonstrates Sivan’s brilliant range and quiet confidence as not only a gay man, but as a young person finding his way through life. This is the allure of Sivan and of Bloom, which is an album so personal it may as well be verbatim from Sivan’s diary. His lyrics are thoughtful and poignant, the album fluid and yet cohesive, his performances genuine through and through.
You can’t listen to Bloom without feeling a sense of love. Sivan is proud of himself, and the listener feels proud, too, and grateful to experience his sense of liberation with him. Sivan looks back to the past, holding his breath, and then exhales, with it releasing tender, emotional, and personal revelations. He captures moments of tense quiet alongside euphoric joy without missing a step. He looks into the soul to find your sense of love and lust and challenges you not to act, challenges you not to dance.
“With Bloom, Sivan finds his footing, his stance, and his voice”
Bloom has been described as a ‘sex album’, and while this is certainly true, it’s much more complex, too. It’s a celebration of life, a reflection on the past, and a hopeful call into the future. The ‘lightness’ Sivan described the album as containing in comparison to Blue Neighbourhood is tangible and inspirational. With Bloom, Sivan finds his footing, his stance, and his voice, and presents himself as an artist ready to take on the world with love and light, and bring everyone along with him.
Featured Image courtesy of Troye Sivan Official Facebook Page.