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The Australian popstar blossoms on his second studio album.
Troye Sivan is an anomaly of a popstar, in that he’s incredibly popular without being a household name. This is due to his unusual path to stardom; he was a child actor, Youtuber and Australian talent show contestant before he signed to a music label in 2013. Because of this, Sivan has built up a sizable and passionate fanbase without ever really breaking through to the mainstream. However, that’s about to change with the release of Bloom, a sophomore album that may as well be his real debut.
The album title recalls Tyler, The Creator’s gorgeous album from last year, Flower Boy. Like Bloom, Flower Boy represented Tyler’s overdue realisation of his full potential. The flower imagery evoked by both album titles refers to a growth in both their artistry and sexuality as queer men.
Bloom also seems to owe a debt to Tyler’s collaborator Frank Ocean, particularly his most recent album, Blonde. Both albums explore similar themes of being a queer man in the digital age; particularly in relation to online dating, which Sivan details on intro track Seventeen.
Like Frank, Sivan can craft a wonderful pop song without sacrificing his individuality as a musician. Bloom moves between dreamy pop, acoustic ballads and full-on dance music while remaining a cohesive album; rather than the overlong playlists other popstars have been passing off as albums this year. Its tight 37-minute runtime leaves no room for any filler.
Sivan cleverly only has two featured artists on the album, the most notable of which is Ariana Grande; who features on Dance to This, the most conventional pop song on the album. Grande’s powerful voice nicely compliments Sivan’s casual delivery. It’s a song you can imagine couples choosing for karaoke years from now. This song is an excellent example of Sivan’s place in pop music, in that it’s a straightforward pop song but it has a strange dreaminess to it.
It’s a joy to see Sivan embrace his identity as a queer man with such glee. While other musicians such as Sam Smith mostly ignore using male pronouns when discussing relationships, Sivan makes no secret of it; nor should he. It’s choices such as this which make him such a distinct and important voice in pop music.
The progression shown since his indistinct debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, is astounding. There isn’t much progression Sivan could possibly make following Bloom, which is a near-perfect pop album; but if he can continue to grow then he could become one of the defining popstars of his era.
By Peter Comiskey