Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Troye Sivan – Bloom

Planting a seed on our sidebar…


Will Adams: Troye Sivan’s reliance on breathiness to communicate intimacy finally works… once I’m past the feeble first verse. The chorus is brilliant, a rush of wintry wind akin to Betty Who’s “A Night to Remember” that nails the feeling of opening up. Maybe soon his voice can do the same.

Alfred Soto: I liked “Bloom” in seconds: the floral conceit, the willingness to acknowledge passivity, the vocal choices especially (he’s coquettish, not desperate). How many songs do we get about bottoming, for chrissakes? I’m less impressed with “play me like a love song” and those synth clouds that to the under-thirty set qualifies as “’80s sounding.” 

Katherine St Asaph: The spoken-word bridge is just the right side of cheesy; the noncommittal vocal (think “Teenage Dream” if it were only verses) just the wrong side of demo track. This would be better if it were released earlier than 2018, when every song didn’t have an industry mandate to sound chill.

Ian Mathers: At first, the way he kind of rushes through the first couple of verses combined with whatever production makes Sivan’s voice sound oddly colourless didn’t do much for me. But the song, err, blossoms nicely enough with the chorus and that great gated drum machine that the rest of the song plays better on subsequent listen. (Although surely we can all agree that “we’re dancing with the treason” would have been a more interesting line than “trees and.”) The end result is a sweetly diffident earworm.

Edward Okulicz: Don’t know what’s going on here, but where I can listen to an entire Hidden Cameras album replete with descriptions of gay sex, this, er, flowery paean to the same sort of thing with airy synths actually makes me blush to listen to it. Must be the fact that Sivan is putting his unflinching take on sexuality in an unflinching pop song. If the world flinches while or before enjoying it, so much the better.

Stephen Eisermann: To those unfamiliar with the concept of bottoming, this song is a fun sunset, a summer fair jam, but to those in the know, it’s so much more: a declaration. The anxiety around being penetrated are unsurprisingly universal, but when you set the right mood with some easygoing electropop and a dulcet voice, then goddamn it can be really good.

Vikram Joseph: “Bloom”‘s breezy, windows-down vocoder-pop initially sounds a little one-note, unwilling to set its phasers towards an ecstatic dancepop heaven in the same way that the chorus of “My My My!” did. This actually turns into a strength of sorts; Troye Sivan exudes a casual, quiet confidence here, which meshes well with the song’s low-key feel. For a song so overtly about sex, it feels like breathless pillow-talk rather than coming off as performative, to Sivan’s considerable credit. The garden metaphor is obviously kind of daft, but Sivan knows it, and it remains very satisfying to hear him sing with such self-assured ease about stuff that straight artists have been singing about for decades without anyone thinking it remarkable.

Claire Biddles: Queer adolescence can happen at any age. We can have our first times — our real first times; sexual or self-actualising or both — at 26, or 32, or 65. How many of us have laid on our beds or sat at our desks or stalled in the front seat of our cars listening to “Genie in a Bottle” or “Saving All My Love For You,” thinking about what we want but isn’t ours yet, feeling simultaneously too old and too young? We’ve all narrowed our eyes so that these familiar anticipatory stories go out of focus and re-form to fit our own narratives, like sonic fanfiction. “Bloom” is a bottoming virginity rewrite of “Teenage Dream,” may as well be note-for-note, but that’s the point. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were the lead single from a thousand song queer cover version compilation album of teenage rush-of-love, fully-formed-for-the-first-time, I’ve-waited-my-whole-life top 40 hits rewritten for rights of passage that could be our own?

Reader average: [7.35] (14 votes)

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One Response to “Troye Sivan – Bloom”

  1. I wasn’t a huge fan of this initially but the not-lyric video version of this vastly improved the song for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41PTANtZFW0