“Bloom” braves pop norm

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Australian pop legend Troye Sivan released his long-awaited sophomore album “Bloom” on August 31. In just under 36 minutes, the simmering ten-track album prompts an array of emotions—from absolute elation to reflective melancholy.

Sivan, 23, became an international queer and pop icon when his debut album, “Blue Neighborhood” peaked at no. 7 on the US Billboard top 200 list in 2015. “Bloom” unveils a matured Sivan in an 80s-esque indie pop fashion, “full of gentle synths, tender singing and nuanced coming-of-age sentiments,” according to Rolling Stone. Inspired by the likes of Grace Jones to This Mortal Coil, “Bloom” defies the norms of today’s pop, “and feels like a coherent, artist-led album rather than a bet-spreading collection of songs designed to hit every popular musical base,” according to The Guardian.

  Like many music lovers, Sanderson junior Lane Swecker was excited at “Bloom’s” release. “I like how it’s sort of a ‘quiet jam,’” Swecker stated. “It actually surprised me a little that I liked it so much, because it’s less upbeat than the music I usually listen to.”

  “Bloom” takes more than one listen to truly appreciate. Smoldering singles like “Seventeen,” “Lucky Strike,” and “My My My!” are more hard-hitting, but the gentle synth of “Animal” and “The Good Side” are more introspective and stirring with each listen. To accentuate this idea, half of the ten-track album was released prior to August 31. This gradually introduced Sivan’s new sound, which “tackles the difficult subject-matter [sex and loss] without succumbing to clichés,” according to Paper.

Sivan has clearly created a fantastic pop album, but unlike the usual commercial spread, “Bloom” represents something of much greater depth. Sivan’s sexuality is unconventional in its own right, and that sets him apart because it’s relatively new to the music world. Intimacy is not a new idea by any means in terms of pop music, but queer relationships are largely underrepresented in the music industry. “Bloom” is not only unprecedented, but exceptionally raw.

Being queer isn’t his whole identity. According to Billboard, Sivan is “rewriting the rules of what it means to be a male sex symbol. In opting to break the rules, Sivan is able to speak to a younger generation who recognize gender and sexuality as social constructs.” In his music videos, Sivan has “demonstrated how his sexual orientation is both part of his art and beside the point” in his almost fantastical makeup and outfits, according to the New York Times.

“Bloom” has introduced a whole new perspective to music, which solidifies it as an album for the books.