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When it comes to former YouTube star-turned-potential pop megastar Troye Sivan's sophomore album Bloom, I'll be frank. He's managed to craft a near-perfect pop album.
Troye's first outing - 2015's Blue Neighbourhood - offered a melancholy tale of heartache, and presents our protagonist as muddling his way through growing up gay in suburban Australia. Bloom is an entirely different story altogether. In an interview with Elton John for Out magazine, Troye described Bloom as his "sex album". It's generally quite rare to hear any LGBTQ+ artist make a pop record about sex, and Troye wastes no time with vague allusions - the album's title track in particular would no doubt have Middle England aghast, and pleading for someone to think of the children! But what I refuse to tolerate any argument with is the fact that Bloom is bloody brilliant, and the signs of a potentially great pop star in the making.
Listening to Bloom was only 50% of a novel experience for me, because Troye had already released 5 of its 10 tracks before the album came out. This could cause one to worry that the remainder of the record would be made up of the filler and 'experimental' music an artist likes to chuck in for their own sense of 'artistry'. That might be a fair concern, because Bloom had some fantastic singles. The lead single 'My, My, My!' paid electrifying tribute to '80s pop in a euphoric expression of the divinity of homosexual desire, for example, and saw Troye snatch his first solo Top 40 spot on the UK charts. Described as his big, 'Teenage Dream' massive pop moment, title track 'Bloom' is a potent, perfect pop song that mesmerises as much as it leaves one flustered. And Troye's collaboration with Woman of the Moment(tm) Ariana Grande on 'Dance to This' is a loose, fun whisper-pop dance tune that's magnificently equipped for dancing around your room, pretending to be a pop star.
But don't be fooled, Bloom has even more to offer beyond its singles. 'Plum' shrugs its shoulders at the impermanence of romantic love in anthemic fashion, and 'Lucky Strike' will no doubt hypnotise you with its slinking, staccato rhythms of the chorus. Much of the imagery evoked in the record feels classic and timeless - perhaps an attempt by Troye Sivan to firmly subvert a canon of art which has heavily favoured heterosexual works. But possibly the greatest song on the entire record is its closer, a song called 'Animal'. It's a song that steadily builds to an epic conclusion and essentially tops off the album's mission: it's honest, empowering and utterly stunning.
All I can say is that you must listen to 'Bloom' - Troye Sivan is a real star of tomorrow.