Troye Sivan expertly explores love in Bloom

Courtesy of Stereogum
Sivan’s stark, simple cover for Bloom

Nicolas Jozefczyk | Staff Writer

09/06/2018

Ever since his debut album Blue Neighbourhood, Troye Sivan’s influence has increased in the entertainment industry and continues to with the release of Bloom.

His newest work is aptly named with themes focusing on the budding, ripeness and withering of a romantic relationship. Bloom, whether intentional or not, seems split into stories about Sivan’s past lovers — each with a energetic high and slower, more subdued low. The small autobiographical sections made up of the 10 track album have a chronological progression, with Sivan becoming wiser and more mature with each love interest.

The first track, “Seventeen,” starts the first intimate interaction, and though catchy, has a dark undertone. Musically, the song has simple, sustained chords during the verses and pre-chorus, but becomes more upbeat and switches to pronounced percussion for the chorus. Thematically, the lyrics are heartbreaking to listen to. With lines such as “Got something here to lose that I know you wanna take” and “And he said age is just a number, just like any other / We can do whatever, do whatever you want,” it sounds like someone is preying on him. In an interview with Attitude titled “Troye Sivan on the dark side of dating as a gay teen,” he explains how he got a fake ID and Grindr and had these experiences with older men.

“Seventeen,” just as the opening song, unpacks very heavy material, which is uncommon in most genres, but particularly rare in pop music. Paramore notably portrays dark and real experiences with sonically happier music, which might have had an influence on the way Sivan wrote the melody.

Further in the album are two features, “Postcard” with Gordi and “Dance To This” with Ariana Grande. The two tracks are completely different, both thematically and musically, which produces a stark contrast in the ebb and flow of relationships.

“Postcard” has a largo tempo and very simple instrumentation with primary focus on the piano and slight, almost unnoticeable, guitar strums. The song mimics the idea of caring more in a relationship than the other person. Gordi is an Australian singer-songwriter and although she is not a prominent musician in America, her vocals aid in the melody’s sadness, sounding quite somber with a slight whispiness.

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is “Dance To This.” In this collaboration with pop superstar Grande, a fast, pronounced beat takes hold, clearly outlining the framework of this aptly named dance track. With lyrics like “Under the kitchen lights / You still look like dynamite” and “You know we’ve already seen all of the parties,” the song’s message is clear: A couple, so infatuated with one another, does not need to go out to party, they can turn on the radio and just be together to have fun.

Sivan heavily relies on analogy throughout all of Bloom, but this becomes most apparent in “Plum.” The song mimics “Seventeen” in the sense that it confronts a sadder topic with an upbeat tempo. The imagery associated with “Plum” is quite simplistic, which makes it easily relatable. The lyrics in the chorus “Maybe our time has come / Maybe we’re overgrown / Even the sweetest plum / Has only got so long” creates a vivid picture that can be coupled to a relationship. A fruit is best at the moment it becomes ripe, but it cannot stay that way forever. In time, it starts to mold and decay, becoming worse overtime. Romantically, this is considered the honeymoon period. In a pessimistic view, once that time ends, the intimacy starts to fade away, and in time, the bond gets weaker and the people separate.

Shockingly, Bloom only has 10 songs, which is slightly less than most albums currently released in pop music. Even though its tracklist is short, every song is above three minutes, making the full runtime 36 minutes. In comparison, Grande’s Sweetener is comprised of 15 tunes at a total runtime of 47 minutes.

Sivan’s newest record is supremely catchy and navigates through tough conversation topics with the aid of poetic lyricism and perfectly-pieced-together instrumentation. Anyone interested in what this album offers should not let the amount of songs dissuade from purchasing it. Bloom is a masterful work of art that deserves at least one complete listen through from anyone that has been entranced by or has ever thought about love.

 

 

 

 

 

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