Troye Sivan, Bloom album review: A harmonious and vital pop record

The 23-year-old’s second album has been toiled over until free of unnecessary frills, and could be the one that turns him into one of mainstream music's most revered and fascinating talents

Troye Sivan
Troye Sivan

Longing and the disarming nature of first love are hardly revolutionary subjects when it comes to the pop songbook, but Troye Sivan – the quintessential Gen Z star – has a singular take that he’s pining to share. On his second record Bloom, the gay 23-year-old singer switches the LGBTQ+ community’s creative narrative from one of sociopolitical turmoil into a harmonious and vital pop record, capturing the A to Z’s of modern queer love with pinpoint precision.

“I’ve got these beliefs that I know you wanna break”: Sivan alludes to a heated moment of experimenting with an older man he meets on a dating app on the coy opener, “Seventeen”, which has licks of Alphaville’s “Forever Young” about it. Meanwhile, the synth-fuelled, butterfly-in-your-stomach moments of clarity that sprout on songs like title track “Bloom” are about giving yourself up to a lover, and undying loyalty in a polyamorous age of queer relationships.

Teeming with life but kept to a brisk 36 minutes, Bloom feels like it’s been toiled over until free of unnecessary frills. There’s plenty of scope for chaos, though, with a list of sonic references that ranges from Carly Rae Jepsen to This Mortal Coil, but Sivan and his producers manifest it – somewhat miraculously – without sounding disingenuous.

It’s a testimony to his style of songwriting, which is laced with winking and intelligent pop metaphors, and the record’s anthemic, throwback production. Often designed to replicate the twinkling, tinny echo of vintage synths in a stadium setting – the work of producers like Haim favourite Ariel Rechtshaid, who makes his mark on the heart-swelling ballads “The Good Side” and “Animal”, and Oscar Holter, the man behind the surefire future single “Plum” – the whole record rejects modern pop tropes to bask in a rare kind of Eighties sonic glory.

Making perfect pop isn’t easy, but Troye Sivan is a star who’s done his homework. With one foot in pop’s past and another in its present, Bloom is a record that could turn its considerate maker into one of mainstream music’s most revered and fascinating talents. Sivan should be proud that it will touch hearts and win him fans – both gay and straight – on the way.

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