Troye Sivan Grows a Garden of Desire with Bloom
Troye Sivan, the YouTuber turned pop darling, has never been one to hide his feelings; his 2016 debut, Blue Neighbourhood, was a vivid portrait of his small-town memories, tumultuous youth, and longing for something beyond himself. But what was it Sivan was looking for? Was it a feeling, a place, a person, a state of mind, a place to rest his head, an understanding of his new identity?
After listening to Bloom, his sophomore album released on August 31, it seems that Sivan is no longer missing anything. In fact, his life seems more lively and fuller than ever before not only because he has found love but also because he has found himself.
Sivan’s growth has not distanced him from his past. The album’s first track, “Seventeen,” is a retrospective, harking back to the singer’s enlightening pursuit of love in his late teens. The track acts as an interlude between Blue Neighbourhood and Bloom, marking a transition in Sivan’s relationship with love: no longer an unfamiliar sensation inviting his boyish exploration but, rather, a bond he knows requires commitment and tending.
“My My My!” is a quite appropriate follow up to “Seventeen” and an entrance into the loud and proud world of Bloom. The song brings quite surprising shifts in tone, vocals, and sonics. And Sivan seems just as enthralled by the changes; his proclamation of “Oh, my, my, my” seems to refer not only to his love but also to the world that love has opened up to him. And he’s living for every moment of it.
The album’s title track, “Bloom,” follows in a similar fashion, welcoming listeners to a more sensual, open side of Sivan that has been waiting to, well, bloom. Lyrics interweave metaphors and images of nature into brilliant, poetic narratives and Sivan’s new awareness of his natural instincts. The singer even confesses, “I am an animal with you” on the album’s final track, “Animal,” tapping into seemingly primal, but very human, desires. In these realizations, Sivan seems more connected to himself and his roots than ever before.
But Sivan hasn’t planted himself in any permanent spot yet, something that proves to be a challenge. The album’s minimal, acoustic tracks “The Good Side” and “Postcard” (featuring Australian singer Gordi) place distance between Sivan and his love life. Still, a sense of enchantment exists beneath the harps, guitars, and piano along with a hopeful tone that seems to prove that Sivan has found solace within the whirlwind of performing around the world.
While the album easily earns a place amongst today’s hits with its diverse musical journey across the pop spectrum, Sivan pushes a step further, truly establishing himself within this new generation of pop creators as an artist devoted to his vision.
So it’s fitting that his second feature on the rhythmic, sultry “Dance to This” is Ariana Grande, a singer building her own pop empire with her recent release, sweetener. In a world where features are the new norm – the new requirement even – this song proves that there is a certain strategy in combining talents on a record. Grande does not simply fill an empty place setting; this song would be vastly different without her extraordinary vocal range, and Sivan knew that, tapping into a deep creative foresight that will surely aid him in his career.
Authenticity also plays a huge role in Sivan establishing his place within the field. And Bloom is just that: authentically him. While Blue Neighbourhood introduced the world to Troye Sivan, a young man making sense of his sexuality and the world of possibilities before him, Bloom introduces them to Troye Sivan, the man who knows who and what he wants before he even walks into the room. With a pride flag in hand, this album gives the world modern love anthems straight from the mouth of someone experiencing modern love.
One of those anthems is “Lucky Strike,” the true jewel of the album, and I would not be surprised to see it as a future single or video. It contains the best of Sivan’s poetry and production, balancing a narrative with expert figurative language over a consistent stream of glittery keys and echoes of “Tell me all the ways to love you.” This space that lies between desire and admiration seems to be Sivan’s sweet spot, his natural habitat where he can roam, love, and be loved.
This album, much like its predecessor, doesn’t tell a story but, rather, conveys snapshots of a relationship (or several relationships). Still, Sivan thrives in every picture, hanging on to every feeling, every touch, and every moment; he truly likes what he sees and what his life has become. Bloom is not only a culmination but also a celebration of transformation, of creation, and of finding love in a garden you’ve grown yourself.