Troye Si­van - Bloom

Words Nick Levine

Gay Times Magazine - - REVIEW -

Troye Si­van’s 2015 de­but al­bum Blue Neigh­bor­hood didn’t quite take him to the top of the charts, but it did es­tab­lish him as a cool and cred­i­ble pop­star – no mean feat con­sid­er­ing the LA-based Aus­tralian first made his name on YouTube. Com­bined with the hon­est and re­lat­able way he spoke in in­ter­views about com­ing out and em­brac­ing his sex­u­al­ity, it also saw him hailed by fans as a gay icon, a ti­tle he’s re­cently balked at. “I’m one voice of so many that are miss­ing, and so I’m just try­ing to tell my story,” the 22-year-old ex­plained humbly.

This sec­ond al­bum sees Si­van tell his story even more can­didly than be­fore. Open­ing track Seven­teen ex­plores the prob­lem­atic dy­nam­ics of meet­ing older guys on dat­ing apps. “Boy be­comes a man now, can’t tell a man to slow down,” he sings mat­ter-of-factly. The Good Side is an un­com­monly de­cent and ten­der break-up song, while Post­card mourn­fully ex­plores the be­gin­ning of a re­la­tion­ship’s end. And if the ti­tle track re­ally is about bot­tom­ing, as Si­van has hinted it could be, its im­agery is ap­peal­ingly OTT.

Mu­si­cally, Bloom both repli­cates and builds on the dreamy elec­tro-pop sound that made Blue Neigh­bour­hood such sonic ear candy. The Good Side adds some lovely folky gui­tars to the mix; Plum ref­er­ences Paul Si­mon’s iconic Grace­land sound, and fi­nal track An­i­mal is Si­van’s most am­bi­tious bal­lad yet. Else­where, the al­bum’s Ari­ana Grande col­lab­o­ra­tion Dance to This has a feath­erlight touch Si­van hasn’t tried be­fore; his un­der­stated vo­cals blend el­e­gantly with Grande’s typ­i­cally an­gelic tones. He’s still most com­fort­able at a balmy mid-tempo, but su­per-catchy sin­gle My My My! is just a dance mix away from pop­pers o’clock ter­ri­tory.

Bloom isn’t quite per­fect – What a Heav­enly Way to Die fea­tures dis­ap­point­ingly clichéd lyrics, es­pe­cially from a song­writer ca­pa­ble of be­ing suc­cinct and imag­i­na­tive at the same time. But this is hardly enough to spoil an ex­cel­lent sec­ond ef­fort. Si­van may not feel com­fort­able call­ing him­self a gay icon, but on this ev­i­dence he’s def­i­nitely a com­pelling and per­cep­tive young gay voice.

Im­age Jules Faure

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