After almost three years of waiting, Troye Sivan has finally released his sophomore album Bloom, and it’s exactly what the pop scene needs right now.
Throughout the album’s ten tracks, the 23 year old takes us on an incredibly raw and real journey — a journey that is predominantly one of love and passion, but also one of loss and healing. This album is a truly honest one. The way that Troye has thrown so much of himself into every single song makes listening to the record feel almost invasive at times, and that’s what makes it so brilliant. It’s confident, it’s captivating, it’s incredible. Here is Bloom: a track-by-track analysis.
The album opens with Seventeen — an honest tale of a Grindr hookup that Troye had when he was looking for love at 17 years old. The naivety of the song allows Seventeen to serve as the perfect segue between Blue Neighbourhood and Bloom — the singer has grown physically, emotionally and artistically since his debut album, much like the 17 year old that Troye is singing about in this song has grown into the 23 year old he is today. Troye’s powerful vocal range on Seventeen shows us how Troye has truly matured as a singer, and the uncensored story that is told in this track sets us up for the brutally honest nature of every lyric on the rest of the album. The hook of the chorus contrasting with the hypnotic synths and beautiful, flowing melodies during the verses put this track just left of pop centre, which exactly what makes this song — and the rest of the album — so compelling.
My My My!
Released all the way back in January, My My My! was our first insight into how Troye has progressed from the Blue Neighbourhood era and really come into his own both as a person and as an artist for this album. This confident and uplifting track is about finally giving in to your desires and letting yourself go completely, and it gives us a glimpse into what can only be described as the singer’s incredibly full heart — a theme that continues throughout the album. Upon its release, Troye described My My My! as a song of “liberation, freedom and love”, and that’s exactly what it is. The sheer sense of joy that this track exudes is nothing short of contagious, and its almost too catchy chorus paired with heavy synth beats is the perfect combination to make make even the most stubborn of people want to strut around to it like they own the show.
The Good Side
A song about ending up on “the good side” of things after a difficult breakup, this soft ballad is the longest song on the album. The track navigates the complexities that come with the end of a relationship, where one person is inevitably going to come out of it worse off than the other. The Good Side is somewhat like a letter, throughout which Troye voices his apologies and sympathies for how this relationship ended, but he also vocalises a strong hope of healing for him and his former lover. Whilst the simple acoustic backing paired with Troye’s vulnerable stripped back vocals make the song seem overtly melancholy, the overriding feeling expressed throughout is actually one of care. The raw sincerity of this song is what makes it so powerful, and the bittersweet nature of the lyrics leaves you with a heart that is both broken and mended at the same time.
One of the most pop orientated songs on the album, Bloom‘s titular track conveys feelings of love, lust and the anxieties that come before having sex that are ultimately overcome by trust. Whilst it was originally dubbed as being “about flowers” it’s obvious that the flowers that Bloom is referring to are more like those of a Georgia O’Keefe painting rather than your average rose. This song is about giving yourself so completely to another person and embracing the overwhelming feeling of passion that you have for them rather than shying away from it. Bloom is a catchy, pumpy number with unashamedly queer lyrics that are executed in a way that’s so confident and sure of itself, with nothing held back. This is a song that deserves to be played every Pride.
Australian singer-songwriter Gordi joins Troye on the soft piano ballad Postcard. Initially, this track is coloured with a sense of disappointment and anger, but it soon becomes apparent that this feeling is one that is fuelled by overwhelming love, rather than resentment. As the song progresses, it essentially becomes less about disappointment and annoyance and more about forgiving your significant other’s flaws and understanding that a relationship is so much more than the tiny faults that lie within it. After a heartfelt first verse and chorus from Troye, Gordi’s angelic vocals flow into the song with ease, the soft blend of their voices together making this vulnerable and bittersweet song one of the most tear-inducing on the album.
Dance To This
For the album’s second feature, Troye has been joined by none other than pop-queen Ariana Grande. Dance To This is a cosy and intimate number about staying at home with the person you love, because turning your kitchen tiles into a makeshift dance floor is better than any party you could go to. The lighter synth and beat on this track give room for the song’s sensual and romantic undertones to grow as the verses progress, leading up to the fast paced, raspy bridge that is different from anything we’ve ever seen from Troye before. Having Troye and Ariana featuring on the same track is a stroke of pop genius, with the silky smoothness of Ariana’s vocals blending perfectly with Troye’s more breathy ones, creating nothing short of a pop haven.
Plum‘s electrifying, catchy beat and hooking chorus expertly disguise the fact that it is, in fact, a breakup song. Lyrically, this track is arguably one of the best on the album, using plums and tangerines as metaphors for a collapsing relationship and navigating the feelings of care and affection that are still ever-present even after the spark in a relationship has died out. Over the top of heavy synths and clicks, Troye sings of soft gestures like running your hands through your lover’s hair, but also of the sinking feeling that comes when you can feel that a relationship has run its course. A captivating number with expertly crafted lyrics, Plum is undeniably an incredibly accomplished piece of pop music.
What A Heavenly Way To Die
With a title inspired by The Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, this slow ballad is certainly one of the softest songs on the album. What A Heavenly Way To Die gives us insight into Troye’s long term relationship with boyfriend Jacob Bixenman — one that seems to have a long future ahead of it. It’s a sweet and homely song about wanting to grow old with someone who you have an endless and undying amount of love for, and looking back on the memories you’ve shared as you’ve grown together. The relaxed pace of this track exudes a feel for the warmth and familiarity that comes with a relationship of this depth — you find so much comfort in the way that things are that there’s no need to rush into anything else. What A Heavenly Way To Die is a song that feels like home.
Lucky Strike is yet another one of Bloom‘s pop anthems, this time about the feeling of being besotted and full of desire. This track is a sort of celebration of “striking lucky” with a boy and the joy that comes with mutual the infatuation that follows. The repeated line of “tell me all the ways to love you” feels like something close to worship, and the lyrics that put everything out into the open with no restraints makes Lucky Strike feel somewhat liberating — it’s so forward and carefree, with nothing held back. This song is yet another extraordinary exclamation of love that needs to be shouted from the rooftops, and the fact that the song’s chorus is undeniably one of the catchiest on the album makes Lucky Strike a track that you’ll be singing back to yourself for days.
Described by Troye as an “epic, timeless love song” Animal is certainly a fitting way to end the album. It’s a heartfelt ballad — one that brings a special sense of serenity and content with it and truly puts you at ease. Light, calming synth drones and soft piano notes leave Troye’s voice completely exposed and vulnerable as he sings “an ode to the boy I love”, a lyric that somewhat sums up the entire album. Animal is a true profession of love, but this love is professed in such soft and gentle way that feels almost private. This is a love that so comfortable and so sure of itself that it doesn’t need to be shouted from the rooftops for it to be real. It’s almost as though the album has gone full circle, from Troye naively looking for love at 17 to finding true love at 23.
Bloom is a truly accomplished album. Troye has found the perfect balance of pop anthems, soft ballads and everything in-between, with every single lyric, note and beat executed with the utmost care and attention. The album walks the line of not being so far away from the pop music that we’re used to for it to be alien, but still being different enough that it’s refreshing to listen to.
Hearing an unashamedly queer album that is overflowing with so much love and happiness also serves as a source of hope for so many struggling LGBTQ+ people. It shows them that they can also feel the same level of love and happiness — regardless of their sexual orientation — and that is so important.
Whether Troye is about to rise to the heights of pop stardom I don’t know, but this album is a testament to just how much Troye has grown both as an artist and as a person over the past three years. Bloom is a truly incredible record, and the pop scene is so much better off for it.