“even the sweetest plum has only got so long…”
so sings Troye Sivan, during the chorus of his anthemic bop ‘plum’.
for those who don’t know who Troye is… he is one of the best things to happen to pop music in years. the young queer australian artist kicked off his career on youtube but has blossomed into one of the most underrated artists of the past couple of years.
a couple years back (which is only 5 or 6 posts back haha) is my review of Troye’s debut album ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ – my favourite album of all time (that’s a big statement, i know). it shifted the type of music i listened to. it reinvented how i viewed pop music; explicitly telling me that pop music can be unique and not sounding like the common DJs on the radio. so as you can imagine, i could NOT anticipate his new album ‘Bloom’ anymore than i did.
‘blue neighbourhood‘ looked at love from a desperate and hopeless point of view: it was dark, dreary and i certainly related to it. but a clear evolution and development in those two years passed can be seen in ‘bloom’. it’s more mature. troye has ventured into relationships, seen a light that perhaps was not there before. and its quite beautiful.
of course, there is a twinge of darkness and honesty thrown into the album here and there, as we were expecting – but overall, bloom is more bright and positive!
so i’ll briefly break down each song, telling you my favourites and my least favourites!
the album opens with ‘seventeen’, a song that makes such a statement. Troye sings about his vulnerability when he was very young, looking for what he thought love was. he met a much older man, and may have been slightly misled – he didn’t know any better.
the song, although smooth and positive-sounding, actually hits on quite creepy and uncomfortable notes: Troye details about how he was told that “age is just a number… we can do whatever you want.” the vulnerability of a young Troye is starkly portrayed here. and i can’t help but to feel exposed too.
the music is good. it’s very poppy and catchy, quite the contrast to the odd theme of the song: being led into the unknown of love by a much older man. from the first chorus, the song is led by a strong percussion and electronic guitars. overall, the song is smooth. the vocal melodies are quite versatile, they soar quite high and swoop low; it creates an ethereal sound.
i really do love this song, i am not getting tired of it – one month later. it’s a strong opening.
memorable lyric: “i’ve got something here to lose that i know you want to take.”
My My My! –
next up is the lead single from the album released early January, ‘my my my!’
one of the top 3 songs of the album.
i absolutely love this song. it is literally pop perfection. i can see why it was chosen as the lead single, it’s easily the most mainstream song of an eclectic pop album. and its performance in the charts around the world proved that. it has done well.
we go from an unsettling view of love in ‘seventeen’ to a reassured and confident Troye in this song. Troye sings about his beloved, how he dies every night with him, the thrill of it all is too much. his love is too much. he “lives for his every move.”
the lyrics are sensual, and they sit right. Troye almost gives me the sense that he is impatient when it comes to his lover, “coz passion is passion, you know it just as well as me.” in essence, what’s the point in waiting? let’s do this.
the music is minimalist in the verses, with a focus on electronic percussion and beats. we can hear glorious layered vocals, which only expand when we hear the belter “oh my my my!” at the start of each chorus and throughout. it’s once again anthemic and infectious. and the visuals for the video are iconic.
memorable lyric: “spark up, buzzcut, i’ve got my tongue between your teeth…”
The Good Side –
i’ll be quick on this one: it’s my least favourite on the album.
it’s a sweet guitar ballad about the fragility of love. and the instrumentation becomes quite sparse and electronic as the song progresses.
but it’s awfully boring for a Troye Sivan song. he can do ballads better (which you will see v soon). but ‘the good side’ doesn’t excite me. there are nice moments of course, like the quick and pacey synthesized piano notes that flutter at the beginning and throughout. but that’s it really.
not his best!
memorable lyric: *none really stick out at all, unfortunately*
THE TITLE TRACK… maybe the most important track???
i won’t go too in detail with the lyrics… there are a plethora of sexual connotations. OK! the song is about taking it up the ass. so sorry. enough said.
‘bloom’ is quintessential 90’s boy-band pop. it is typically catchy – what Troye does well. this song utilizes vocal distortion a lot, especially in the bridge. there is a lot of repetition in the vocal melody thus making it memorable. and the song is driven by a constant thumping bass and rhythm.
i really like it. and the video is one of the best videos i’ve ever seen. it’s gender-bending and reinvents masculinity in such a delicate way. the video truly deserves a grammy. is there a grammy award for best video??
memorable lyric: “take a trip into my garden, i’ve got so much to show you, the fountains and the waters are begging just to know you” *kinky*
Postcard ft. Gordi –
this is by far the best ballad of the album. i’ve cried multiple times listening to it.
all it needs is that gorgeous piano accompaniment, Troye’s soft vocals and Gordi’s husky voice. it is so stunning. the melody is something that i don’t think i’ve heard before. the chord progression is not like a typical ballad. the song is just unique.
i wasn’t expecting this song to grip me in the way it did. i can’t stop listening.
the lyrics are filled with fear but oddly filled with the smallest glimpse of hope. it details the dying relationship which Troye recognises, but he desperately tries to salvage what carnage remains. he doesn’t want to let this love go. it’s mature. it’s effortlessly tasteful. but the more i listen, the more i recognise the pain in troye’s voice.
please listen to it and close your eyes.
memorable lyric: “but you’re still picking me up, don’t put me back down like it’s nothing to ya…”
Dance To This ft. Ariana Grande –
I CAN’T BELIEVE ARIANA AND TROYE COLLABORATED!
this is literally my dream collab. my two musical idols. i lost my mind when Troye announced that Ari would feature on the album. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. this is probably highlight of the album.
it’s not a song that will grab you first time round. you will need to listen again, but you will get it and love.
the lyrics are so typically Troye and quirky. the song is about not wanting to leave the house and go party, but instead wanting to get freaky with your partner all night (did i just say ‘get freaky’?) the song is a quiet bop, it’s understated, it’s a slow belter. but it’s genuinely incredible. what is notable is that the entire focus of the single is on the percussion, rhythm, the synth drums. so much so that there isn’t much instrumentation. but it’s everything!! and invigorating. the vocals are deep and sensual, like the song. in essence, it’s smooth and intoxicating.
Ariana’s verse is notable. the blend of their voices are unexpected but they blend well. and the most iconic part of the song is the bridge. that spoken word riff is absolutely genius, shocking and creative.
top of the album!
memorable lyric: “dear beloved, bring those 501’s a bit closer, closer.”
plum is one of the most memorable songs on the album.
it’s a bop. it’s energetic, vivacious.
the song starts pretty generic, with staggered synths and instrumentation in the background and some finger-like clicking. but very soon we are introduced to one of my favourite pop choruses ever. there are layered and echoing vocals which set off the chorus.
the melody is filled with energy, incredible vocal gymnastics, and more soaring high notes. Troye is really learning how to expand his vocal range. and the post-chorus riff is genuinely brilliant. it features an edited electric guitar melody which reverberates throughout the song.
the lyrics are so striking. probably the most striking of the album. this dynamic song has a sparkling facade, but it is actually twinged with a lot of sadness and honesty when it comes to love.
Troye recognises that the relationship is dying, and tries to justify his pain by singing “even the sweetest plum has only got so long.” nothing lasts forever. “i was summer, you were spring. you can’t change what the seasons bring.” overall, this is a brilliant example of a unique and in-your-face pop song which stands out at you, but is probably a kind of pop song you may have not heard before.
memorable lyric: “there’s a chill in the air and a sinking feeling coming over me… like bitter tangerine.”
What a Heavenly Way to Die –
this song is most comparable to ‘cool’ by Troye which features on his first album.
it is laid-back; it has a gorgeous flow to it – quite slow.
i really do enjoy this song, it is definitely more understated than the other powerful pop songs on the album. all of the rhythmic and percussion elements which Troye is currently exploring are featured on this album: it is a microcosm of the album, it is a good representation of Troye’s current sound.
the simplicity of love and the joys that come with it are the themes that are at the heart of this song. Troye describes the pure happiness he could have by dying with his loved one in bed – he feels that fulfilled. he’s “taking in it all.”
it’s a pretty-sounding track, it’s pretty cool.
memorable lyric: “what a heavenly way to die, what a time to be alive, because forever is in your eyes…”
Lucky Strike –
a nice song, but pretty bland. certainly one of the weakest songs of the album.
once this song comes on, it almost melts into the sounds of the two songs that run before it. it fails to stand out, yet it is an accomplished track in it’s own right.
what i do like about this song, though, it that Troye uses the cigarette brand ‘lucky strikes’ to personify his love for his lover. “coz you taste like lucky strikes, you drag, i light, boy.”
it’s once again laid-back, and i guess it’s killed by the track listing, especially coming after the similar sounding ‘what a heavenly way to die’.
nothing new to report here.
memorable lyric: “oh, i wan’t to know just how to love you, the jewel of California.”
as one of Troye’s personal favourites from the album, ‘animal’ exemplifies all that Troye has ever wanted in a song, and the sound he has always wanted to create.
it is a beautiful song which grows with each listen – it is an apt end of a successful album.
the sounds of the song are experimental and avant-garde. it confuses you into thinking it’s a piano ballad, but then come the grand and expansive electronic sounds and instrumentation. there are eccentric elements added in; the sounds of record-player buttons being pressed, and sampling the laugh of Troye’s boyfriend.
the final 40 seconds of the song are incredibly emotional and one of the best moments of the album by far. it reminds you of the musical journey you went on when listening to the record. it is impressive but perhaps not the best song of the album.
the fundamental message of the song is about the energy, spirit and fire that one gets when someone falls in love, “i am an animal with you.”
it is the perfect coda to the album.
memorable lyric: “no angels could beckon me back, and it’s hotter than hell where i’m at.”
an evaluation of the album:
i adore this masterpiece. it is such a polished album. it’s also a mature development in from ‘blue neighbourhood’. i really appreciate how all of these songs are personal, they are a documentation of Troye’s love life. the majority of these songs are brilliant; there is such a consistency throughout the record. most albums i listen to have various low-points or dips, but there aren’t any significant dips or poor sections of ‘bloom’.
i wish the album was longer! i waited 2 fucking long years to hear more Troye music, and a 10 track listing just wasn’t enough for me really. i know that it is cohesive, and well-made, but it would bring me more pleasure to see an album that wasn’t just twice the length of your standard EP.
here is my ranking of the songs:
- Dance To This ft. Ariana Grande
- My My My!
- What a Heavenly Way to Die
- Lucky Strike
- The Good Side