Illustration by Sadie Winkelstein
Troye Sivan bleached his curly brunette hair platinum blonde and showcases it front and center on the cover of his very good new album, Bloom. This change wasn’t just a style switch or a marketing ploy. Something changed in his artistry. His boy next door aesthetic vanished and out of it, emerged a new, confident, and most prominently queer icon. Following suit in the resurgence of synth pop, this new album twinkles with euphoric songs, full of vivid color and movement. Gone is the mundanity of brunette Troye. Hopefully blonde Troye is here to stay.
Troye Sivan has been in the spotlight since the early days of vlogging on Youtube. One might remember his oft-rumored relationship with Tyler Oakley, or his song based on The Fault in Our Stars.
He was a big deal in the internet community and slowly but surely transitioned into a real popstar. It’s fitting that the central theme in this album is change, especially due to its title. Musically, Bloom is filtered through the Jack Antonoff-pop machine. Tinged in neon lights and at only 36 minutes, Bloom feels tight, and every track feels essential to the story Sivan is trying to tell.
Nowhere is this album represented better, than in the lead single “My My My!” Exclamation point very much needed. This straight hit of dopamine bursts with low key but sexually charged lines like, “Go slow, no, no, go fast/You like it just as much as me.” Slowly building up to the apex of the chorus, celebrating the joy you get from being with your partner. Everything about this song screams absolute bop. The production sounds expensive, giving it a haunting techno-glitch that permeates the song’s essence.
While Sivan is a good writer, his prose is more direct than poetic. However, what he lacks in poetry he makes up for in passion.
On the titular track “Bloom,” Sivan scintillates with desire as something is about to happen for the first time. He coyly tweeted, “it’s about flowers,” prior to the single’s release. Ok, whatever you say Troye.
The actual song itself, brings to mind a Carly Rae Jepsen hit with those percussive verses. Leaving little to the imagination, he opines, “Take a trip into my garden/I’ve got so much to show ya,” before telling his lover that he blooms just for him.
If you haven’t noticed before this, Sivan is openly gay and all of his songs use male pronouns. It’s extremely progressive for an album this proud to debut at #4 on the Billboard charts next to Eminem who has previously and is currently using gay slurs, opening a big door to representation in the music industry
“Plum” is an ode to the inevitable end to the relationship, employing a banging beat and heavy synths while opening track “Seventeen” deals with Sivan’s first love, echoing with the line, “I got these beliefs that I think you wanna break.” Sivan takes an interesting perspective on breakups with the song “The Good Side.” Filled with folk-ish trills, this slower songs deals with the Sivan’s guilt at having emerged from a breakup and having a good time. He sympathizes, recognizes, and apologizes to his ex in a ballad that isn’t entirely sad.
Ariana Grande’s voice blends perfectly with Sivan’s to celebrate the joys of just enjoying each other’s company on “Dance to This” and it continues the trend of tight danceable pop.
Bloom is not a very cohesive album. At times, it sways to the side of generality in its lyricism and some of the slower songs don’t shine as much. But he did create a fine piece of pop music, which was filled with a progressiveness that gives Bloom its edge.