Coming off his debut album titled Blue Neighborhood, former YouTuber-turned-popstar Troye Sivan released Bloom on Friday. Sivan’s first album placed the artist squarely in a pop electronic genre, which he has stuck to in this recent release. Organizationally speaking, the album switches methodically from serious to carefree at almost every other song. Thematically, however, Bloom is not for the faint of heart. It tackles breakups in one of the saddest ways imaginable—realizing the love that once was clear is now fading. The songs on Bloom that more closely align with the larger pop genre have a light superficial feel to them that, fortunately, allows for a reprieve from the sadness. These pop songs meet their unfortunate demise, however, with the end. Many of the songs on the album repeat lines from the bridge or chorus with heavy instrumental parts and rarely have more than two short verses until they fall back on the chorus to repeat.
Bloom begins with a pop song that, upon first glance, fits the popular idea of Troye Sivan’s style very well: “Seventeen.” When you listen closely to the lyrics, though, it is apparent that this song is about entering the sexual dating pool a bit too young and becoming jaded early in life. This is a tough theme to open an album with, but Sivan makes it a catchy song that sounds as if it could be played at parties. The pop-like music makes the theme of underage dating a little less jarring when starting off the album. After “Seventeen,” the album seems to take a strict half-and-half slow vs. pop organization. The pop songs, tracks two, four, six, and seven seem to come almost directly after slow serious songs like tracks three, five, eight, and nine.
The pop songs on Bloom are quite deep. Particularly hard-hitting is “Postcard,” coming fifth on the album. The song’s narrative follows Sivan as he writes a postcard to his boyfriend while on tour. As the story of the song unfolds, the listener realizes that Sivan’s boyfriend never went to the post office to receive it. At this point in the song, Sivan sings that he realized his boyfriend did not care about the relationship. “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.”
As a parallel, Sivan talks about cheating (emotionally and physically) on tour in his song “The Good Side,” placed third on the album. “Found arms to fall right into / I know how it looked, it wasn’t the plan / And some day I hope that you’ll understand.” This dichotomy seems to be an observation about the fame that Sivan has experienced after his first album rose to fame fairly quickly for a new artist.
The music of the album was in line with what might be expected from Sivan, with the exception of “The Good Side,” which is acoustic. Sivan made his name on electronica, and he continues to fit very well into the genre. In this album, as opposed to Blue Neighborhood, Sivan used a lot more voice modification and manipulation. Of note is the end of “The Good Side.” The regularity of genre and overuse of cliches like “A hit of dopamine, higher than I’ve ever been,” which have been exhausted to the point of impotence, make it difficult to see the entire album as impressive.
Featured Image by Capitol Records