Troye Sivan has become one of the pop giants for 2018. The singles released from his second album, Bloom, earlier this year are proof of that, with 'My My My' having been streamed over 96 million times on Spotify alone.
His success is for good reason too, Sivan knows how to swim through the mainstream; his music manages to reflect the current trends without losing the distinctive style that he created in Blue Neighbourhood. This album feels like a natural progression from his debut but still leaves you gasping for more.
Sivan's sultry vocals take centre stage in every track. Mesmerised, he guides us through to the end, providing access to the most personal and intimate of experiences. The opening song, 'Seventeen', is a good example of this, as it depicts his first encounter with romance. Like many of the songs that follow, it is slow and the verses are stripped back, allowing his vulnerability as an artist to seep through.
In the chorus, he admits that seventeen was "maybe a little bit young" to fall in love, but that "it was real to me", and this lyric, which is the backbone of the song, showcases just how much Sivan has grown in the past three years since Blue Neighbourhood. Well into his twenties now, Sivan's career is, quite literally, blooming; no longer trying to escape the fame that he found on YouTube, he is carving out a new persona that is hypnotic. Thus, the hindsight presented in this song allows listeners, both young and old, to relate to the all-consuming emotion of teenage love, without shaming nor glorifying it. It is the matter-of-fact truth of his lyrics that is setting him apart from this crowded industry.
Along with this honesty, Sivan remains unique through his experimentation both in the album and outside of it. The third track, 'The Good Side', is reminiscent of Harry Styles' 'Meet Me in the Hallway' (2017) through a similar use of acoustic guitar, but Sivan expertly side-steps being labelled 'generic' by adding an electric twist. Similarly, outside the album, Sivan's music video for 'Bloom' distorts our perceptions of gender and sexuality making a statement much larger than the usual pop hits.
In contrast to this experimentation, 'Postcard' shows that Sivan is also a master of all aspects of classic pop, with this beautiful piano ballad. In collaboration with fellow Aussie singer, Gordi, their voices meld together like lock and key, opening a door to the world of pop ballads that we all love to cry to during heartbreak.
The album comes to a close, just 36 minutes later, with 'Animal'. Sivan certainly doesn't go out with a bang, but more of a quiet hum. While 'Bloom' would have been a more worthy closing number, 'Animal' does leave you longing for more, as the final ten seconds of the song consist of a low and quiet hum, leaving you uncertain as to whether the song or album has actually finished. Perhaps that was his intention; Sivan remains in control of us, as listeners, until the very end and throughout all the pop trends and bold experimentation that makes up this album, his voice and persona are at the heart of it.
Troye Sivan will only continue to grow stronger as an artist and musician, and we look forward to seeing what he does next.