‘Bloom’ encapsulates LGBTQ identity with purpose

Troye Sivan flourishes in sophomore album

Troye_Sivan_-_Bloom_(Official_Album_Cover)

Cover of Troye Sivan's second album "Bloom" 

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Troye Sivan’s second album starts with a crippling realization — “I got these beliefs that I think you wanna break / Got something here to lose that I think you wanna take from me” — and so sets the scene for his new, emotional diary full of songs. Opening track “Seventeen” explores the topic of manhood and pressure in a young relationship, with beautifully rendered lines like “Age is just a number, just like any other / We can do whatever, do whatever you want / Boy becomes a man now, can’t tell a man to slow down / He’ll just do whatever, do whatever he wants.” This opening track introduces listeners to a new side of Sivan, who will reappear throughout the setlist — a man who has made enough mistakes and learned enough lessons since his debut record to deliver heartbreaking lines with poise and intention. 

In his debut album “Blue Neighborhood,” Sivan used the topics of coming out in suburbia and the exploration of innocent love to introduce listeners to his fragile, emotional area of songwriting. However, “Bloom” conveys a much stronger, more polished and mature disposition within his writing. His songs are brutally honest, whether he’s merely saying, “I got the good side of you” in his laid-back track “The Good Side,” or in “Postcard,” when he sings with melancholy, “I sent you a postcard from Toyko, baby / You never picked it up / Even wrote it in Japanese, baby / You didn’t give a f—k.” In his first record, Sivan appeared as a young Australian boy who was just learning how to navigate life as a gay male, a boy who wrote about feeling trapped in the suburbs, unsure how to come to terms with his identity. In “Bloom,” he’s found it, unapologetically, and he’s excited to show us all. 

“Bloom” is a pure pop record, with radio bangers such as “Bloom” and “My My My!” among the setlist, as well as piano ballads like “Postcard” with up-and-coming Australian singer Gordi. There is sadness, excitement and above all, a sureness and knowledge of identity that makes the album so compelling. His writing has grown to new heights, as he imperfectly sings lines such as, “You’re still picking me up / Don’t put me back down like it’s nothing to ya” with a crooning element in his voice that ties “Postcard” together. In fact, “Postcard” may be the strongest song on the record, plopped right in the middle of the tracklist with heavy intention and purpose. The writing style, mixed with the simplicity — yet utter emotion — of the vocals and instrumental, makes the song stand out from the rest. 

At only 10 songs, the record is short and sweet, and it works perfectly that way. The first half seems familiar, with three previously-released songs stacked on top of each other. Thus, the second half is where the good stuff is. The songwriting on the B-side steps a little bit outside what a normal pop artist might write, with lines like, “Maybe our time has come / Maybe we’re overgrown / Even the sweetest plum / Has only got so long” in the seventh track, “Plum.” There’s something different and a bit odd about throwing a line referencing a sweet plum, a pretty uncommon fruit, into a cookie-cutter phrase about love growing old. But that’s the Sivan way — tossing in little details in the songwriting that peak enough interest to hold on. 

Even though some songs prove weaker than the rest, the album as a whole is a beautifully crafted piece of pop songwriting that aims to show Sivan in a new, brighter light. His confusion has fallen away through his rise to fame, and he now embraces his identity with purpose. While “Blue Neighbourhood” was about finding his footing on the suburban streets, “Bloom” takes Sivan to the stars, inspiring listeners to look up from the ground and search within themselves for their own inner growth and strength.

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