If there was a sound that perfectly encapsulated the transition for summer to fall, it would be Bloom. Troye Sivan’s sophomore album, Bloom, is a sweetly succinct collection of pop gems and mature songwriting. There are sultry dance anthems (“Dance to This,” “Plum”) and smooth and languid ballads (“The Good Side,” “What a Heavenly Way To Die”). Bloom is a refreshingly honest and delicate album from a perspective that is rarely seen in pop music.
While the mainstream pop landscape is dominated by love stories from a straight woman perspective, Bloom invites us to listen to tales of love from the perspective of a young gay male. An underage Troye sneaks onto Grindr on “Seventeen,” and he relives his first time having sex on “Bloom.” Bloom is a deceptively quiet record that uses atmospheric production to breathe universality into Troye’s unique lyricism.
Bloom could have benefited from more experimentation in its production, at times the album feels as if it’s one large slump of muted electronic beats and soft vocal performances. In a post-Lorde and Lana Del Rey music world, “vibe” music and softer sounds have dominated radio. As a result, at times Bloom mistakes cohesion for homogeneity, but that’s never too serious a problem on such a beautiful album. Especially with gems like the luscious “Plum” and hauntingly marvelous “Postcard.”
This year, musically and politically, has been loud and abrasive, so an album that thrives on muted beauty is definitely appreciated. Bloom is a commendable next step on Sivan’s musical journey and a more-than-worthy follow up to Blue Neighborhood.
Key Track: “What a Heavenly Way to Die”