Following in the footsteps of more or less every other chancing pop star in waiting, Troye Sivan has taken his turn guesting at a Taylor Swift concert. Sivan’s appearance, however, stood out when he nearly outshone his host. Strutting down the lengthy runway of Pasadena’s Rose Bowl for around 90,000 fans (no biggy) without missing a beat of ‘My My My!’, he cut the picture of an artist well-versed in mega-proportioned stadiums. The South-African born, Australian-raised artist’s second record ‘Bloom’ is appropriately named, too, with a title that befits a man who has already shifted effortlessly into full-blown pop stardom.
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These days, Sivan possesses a quiet sort of confidence. His potential previously peered through the blinds, looking out over the sleepy suburban cul-de-sac that housed his 2015 debut ‘Blue Neighourhood’. The record borrowed its name from the awkward tension that can hang over your hometown when you’re a young queer kid searching for belonging (Sivan grew up in the suburbs of Perth, Australia). “I am tired of this place / I hope people change” he sang on ‘Fools’, mapping out potential little houses and children’s names for his future like a wistful dreamer.
On ‘Bloom’, however, much of that anguish is left behind. Instead, this record sees Sivan frankly chart his dabbles on the gay dating app Grindr (‘Seventeen’) and put forth a tender sort of apology for his past actions (‘The Good Side’). On closing track ‘Animal, he softly whispers, “I am an animal with you” atop sounds that resemble a make-out mixtape spun out through a purple kaleidoscope. Whatever subject matter he touches, Sivan manages to tear away all the filters; there’s a tender sort of honesty to the whole album.
While Blue Neighbourhood’ moped deliciously amid a painful break-up, its successor explores lust, desire and wanting. Troye Sivan soars joyfully through it all, smuggling winking sexual metaphors and filthy imagery into the picture by way of Trojan horse-shaped pop bangers such as ‘Bloom’.
There is certainly something to be said for the amount of dopamine that permeates every inch of the record. Troye Sivan and other queer pop stars frequently find themselves lumped with common tags – “unapologetically out” is one clumsy term that often gets thrown about. As much as it’s often a cliché, unapologetic – or rather, completely empowered – is a mood that applies wholeheartedly to ‘Bloom’. Here, Sivan has created an album that does away with any apology; instead it sees him seize happiness with both hands.