Music Review – Vulnerable lyrics set Bloom apart

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

Troye Sivan’s sophomore album Bloom reaffirms the gay pop artist’s place in the new generation of artists changing the face of the music industry one gay anthem at a time in #20GayTeen.

Released Aug. 31, Sivan’s second studio album explores lust, desire and wanting all while never shying away from the realities of romance as an LGBTQ-identifying person and exudes a vulnerability and delicacy rarely associated with male pop stars as his sexuality continues to play an integral part in his art. 

Despite playing it safe musically, Sivan pushes the envelope with his lyrics that paint piercing scenes of lips that taste like Lucky Strike cigarettes and capture experiences common for young gay men like first times and hooking up with older men.

Bloom opens with “Seventeen,” which captures the experience Sivan had with an older man he met on the gay dating app Grindr, and despite the questionable age gap, there’s a sense of relatable romanticism in the lyrics like “I went out looking for love when I was 17/ Maybe a little too young, but it was real to me.” 

The honesty of the opener also sets a precedent for the rest of the album, which is littered with even more personal lyrics as Sivan continues to find a wealth of ways to provide listeners with fresh reflections on age-old themes.

The opener is followed primarily by love songs, some of which are about sex while others paint blissful scenes of domestic life with a partner. 

On one hand, you have “My My My!,” which contains lines like “I got my tongue between your teeth” and “you like it just as much as me” while on the other hand you have Sivan’s duet with Ariana Grande on “Dance To This,” which is about staying in and dancing around the kitchen.

Though musically conservative, it’s clear the musical choices on each track were finely considered to accompany Sivan’s voice. 

“The Good Side” has acoustic-guitar string-squeaks, and “Animal” has deep, expansive, lovely synth sighs and grand, echoing Phil Collins drum-thuds. Even on “My My My!,” the album’s most popular single prior to release, everything has been arranged to perfection. 

This blend of Sivan’s voice with the gentle synth-pop beats often used in his songs pairs perfectly throughout the album as sexual and emotional first-times are tackled. 

Bloom satisfies both one’s ears and heart, and despite Sivan’s music being about the experiences of young gay men, listeners are sure to find something relatable regardless of their sexual identity.