Album Review: Troye Sivan – Bloom

Sivan shed’s the indie-alternative sound he had in his debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, and comes back older and wiser in his sophomore release, Bloom. Bloom, nicknamed “the sex album” by Sivan himself, shows that he isn’t afraid to really dive into his sexuality, something he was more hesitant to do on his debut. The record also has a happier tone, both sonically and lyrically. This album is filled with 80s influenced timeless pop bangers and love songs, that almost come across a little cliché, to his current boyfriend, model Jacob Bixenman.

1. Seventeen – Sivan opens his sophomore album with Seventeen, a track that tells the listener that he isn’t afraid to open up. Sivan has stated the song is about how he would hook up with older guys on Grindr when he was 17 and still discovering his sexuality. He said in an interview that he didn’t want the song to come off predatory but that he didn’t want to promote it either. He says that he doesn’t “[look] back [on] those experiences in a negative or a positive light.”

Seventeen is probably the most similar sounding song to his debut album, Blue Neighbourhood. The song definitely gets better as it goes on, as the production continues to build up even though the lyrics don’t seem to change much. My favorite part of the song is a few instrumental bars with just Sivan’s backing vocals and a twinkling sound before the drums kick in and the chorus comes back with some extra back-up vocals. I also really enjoy the added guitar near the end of the track.

All in all, Seventeen is a solid song, although I’m not sure if it’s the perfect start for the album as it has a dark tone whereas the rest of the album has a lighter tone.

(Also, side note: I listened to the vinyl exclusive reprise, and it’s so beautiful so definitely try to check that out)

2. My My My! – Although Bloom opened with a bit of a darker tone, My My My pulls Sivan away from his dark alternative pop in Blue Neighborhood and towards a new, fun, 80s inspired pop song. My My My is definitely a banger and shows that you can still dance to music even if it doesn’t have a beat drop. The lyrics aren’t anything special in this song, but they aren’t meant to be, the soaring chorus is what this song is all about. My My My displays the perfect mood of a love that is just beginning, when you can’t seem to get your hands off each other. The production on the first few seconds is absolutely spectacular and I love how the song slows down and then picks itself back up again every time the chorus comes back around. I love Troye’s vocals on the last chorus and the “ooohs” in the background. My My My is a timeless song that was the perfect choice as the leading single.

3. The Good Side – This song is easily my favorite on the album, I’m a sucker for beautiful slow songs. I love the opening and closing production and how it goes into a nice acoustic guitar-driven song. The production that takes the place of a chorus is beautiful and I love how his voice echoes on the second verse. The lyrics are beautiful as well, as Sivan reflects on a previous relationship and break up, and how he feels sorry for he knows that the break up didn’t affect him much, but did negatively effect the other person. He thanks the previous lover as he “taught him to love” and hopes that they can “meet in the spring,” when the wounds have healed. Sivan remains very self-aware as he knows that he “found arms to fall right into,” but he hopes that one day he’ll understand. I love the production on this sound as it’s such a beautiful, tear-jerking song, but I also love how mature Sivan is about this breakup. He still cares about the other person and wishes the best for them and that isn’t always the case.

4. Bloom – The title track is another pop jam. Sivan has stated that he initially wrote this song as a joke, which explains some of the lyrics, especially the opening lyrics “take a trip into my garden.” This was the second single from the album, and although it doesn’t hold up to the expectation My My My started, this song definitely isn’t something you want to skip. The deep, edited, voice on the bridge may catch you off guard the first time, it’s definitely something you’ll enjoy in later listens. The song is fun, and although like My My My, it’s not anything special lyrically, it’s still something you’ll catch yourself singing along to in repeated listens. It’s a gay anthem and Sivan performs very well in it.

5. Postcard (feat. Gordi) – This is a beautiful, piano-driven song. Although the beginning metaphor of Sivan’s love being like a postcard that his lover “didn’t give a fuck” about even though he sent it from Japan and “even wrote it in Japanese” is a little bit of a stretch and may make you want to ignore it completely, Australian singer’s, Gordi, contribution is something you don’t want to miss. Sivan and Gordi’s voices mix very well together at the end of the track, and I will say that Gordi did save the track from being one of my least favorites of the album. The lyrics do make me cringe a little bit, I still can’t help but love this song. But I will say, his performance of this song on his album release day with a string quartet is better than the original song in my opinion, so if you don’t like this at least check that out because the violins will for sure make you fall in love with the song.

6. Dance to This (feat. Ariana Grande) – When this song came out, I was at first very disappointed as I was a fan of both Sivan and Grande and found that they didn’t shine as bright as I would’ve hoped. However, after I got passed this with repeated listens, I found myself with bopping my head along with the drum beat and it popping into my head at random times. I enjoy the breathing in the background and the heavier drums during the bridge. Sivan and Grande’s voices do mesh together very well, but they are not the stars of the show, it’s beautiful production. I also enjoy the lyrics, talking about not wanting to go out and just wanting to stay home. The bridge did catch me off guard at first, but I find myself now thoroughly enjoying Sivan and Grande speaking as they say “I don’t wanna sleep tonight, I just wanna take that ride.” There is no particular moment in this song that stands out, but the song as a whole is a nice, mellow, pop song even if it wasn’t what I expected.

7. Plum – I’m a little divided on this song, it’s very bittersweet. I really enjoy the production, especially the guitar after the chorus. It’s definitely a song you can dance to, and I love how the song pulls back when Sivan sings “Maybe our time has come.” I like how it’s an upbeat song even if it’s speaking about how Sivan is unsure if a relationship will last.

So with all of those positives, I can’t help but cringe at how Sivan compares this relationship to a rotting fruit when he says “even the sweetest plum has only got so long.” Maybe it’s just me that doesn’t enjoy this metaphor, but I just find it lazy. It’s trying to create this aesthetic that just doesn’t work in my opinion.  I enjoy this song a lot when I’m not focusing on the lyrics, and it’s playing in the background but whenever I really pay attention, I cannot help but hate those lyrics.

8. What A Heavenly Way to Die – I don’t have much to say about this song. I really enjoy the track, how Sivan is saying that he’s going to die with this lover and that “forever ain’t half the time [he] wants to spend with [him].” I love the drums in this track, especially during the bridge which arguably is one of the best moments of the album. It’s a great deep cut, but not something I’d particularly pull out on its own. It fits the album very well, but I don’t see it going anywhere beyond that which is okay.

9. Lucky Strike – Another fun love song. I don’t particularly enjoy the opening verse and the production on Sivan’s voice, but as the song get’s into the pre-chorus and then into the chorus I find myself enjoying the song more and more. I like the background synthesizers when Sivan says “tell me all the ways to love you.” I don’t like how Sivan reuses the lyrical cliché “a hit of dopamine, higher than I’ve ever been.” Comparing love to a drug is one of the least original things an artist can do, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves in music. Other than that, it’s a solid song that I enjoy whenever I hear.

10. Animal – Animal is a perfect love song. The production is beautiful, the lyrics are beautiful and don’t come across as cliché unlike some of the others on his lovesongs, altogether it’s a great song. I love how the production picks up on the second verse and the added drums in the chorus. The short snippets of an electric guitar are a perfect addition and the switch up during the bridge keeps this song from being like so many others. It’s the perfect closer to a love-song driven album.  I love the way the production pulls back near the end of the song for that short drum riff. I don’t have to say much about this song because it speaks for itself.

In conclusion, Bloom shows Sivan straying from his dark Blue Neighbourhood sound into a more mature, fun, pop sound. Sivan is growing into a great popstar and has also progressed vocally since his last release. The production is definitely an improvement on this album, especially the opening and closing production of each of the tracks, which are often the best parts. I do believe that lyrically, this album is a step back from Blue Neighbourhood, an album with songs like HEAVEN which dive into some mature topics. Altogether this is a fun pop release and a perfect way to start out a new school year.

Rating: 8/10

Best Songs: The Good Side, Animal, What A Heavenly Way to Die, Lucky Strike, My My My!

Worst Songs: Plum

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