I am thirteen when I first listen to Troye Sivan. It is seven in the evening, and I am seated in front of my computer, typing out happy little pill into youtube.com. It is my best friend’s current favourite song, and anything she likes, I have to, too. Troye is fairly young- probably looks younger than he actually is- but his music is just as magical as it is now. It’s a slow tune, one that I love instantly. One that seems so distant to me now, as Bloom plays in my head on repeat. Back then, I didn’t know just how much Troye Sivan would change my life, but it’s only a matter of a few more months before I do.
It is 2015 when I am reminded of Troye Sivan again, and I am also a completely different person (or so I like to think). When I look him up on the internet, the result is a photo immediately makes me feel at peace: it is the cover of the Wild EP, Troye looking angelic as yellow flower petals fall upon him. Will his music sound like this picture looks, I wonder to myself. The answer that I don’t know is: yes, it will. It will feel exactly like the picture looks, and it will magically make everything better. Because Troye’s music has always felt like a warm blanket and a crackling fire on a windy day.
One morning, as I sit on the floor in the corner of my room, stressed about something, I hear Troye’s music playing in the background. But this time, I don’t just hear it: I listen. I listen to it properly: the lyrics and his voice and the beats and the beauty. I look up suddenly, and realize something: this is the first time I’ve fallen in love with someone’s music instantly. I smile, standing up to check the name of the song that’s currently playing. It’s called Wild, and it is the first Troye Sivan song I fall in love with.
There is a point, in the middle of me writing: when I actually begin to grow proud of what I’m writing. It is when my writing begins to take shape, and everything begins to fall into place. I don’t think that will happen with this particular piece of writing, because nothing I ever write can do justice to how Troye’s music makes me feel.
I listen to Blue Neighbourhood soon after that. It’s an afternoon I will never forget. I grab my headphones, clamber up onto my bunk bed, and lie down, trying to erase everything else I’m thinking- when the music begins.
Blue Neighbourhood is an album that changed my life. It’s as simple as that.
It creates a space that is melancholy, that fills you with longing and nostalgia- and sadness, of course- but there’s hope, too, seeping out from the corners. It’s clearly an album that comes from feeling lost and scared and all the feelings that come with being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, but also just being in love.
One track in particular makes my breath stop. Suburbia. When it begins, I feel something in me shift. Have you heard me on the radio, did you turn it up is a line that makes my heart pound, and I don’t know why. It’s one of my first infinity songs: a title I rarely bestow upon songs, these are the songs that make me feel everything all at once. It’s a feeling I’ve never been able to describe, and I don’t know if I want to.
A few weeks later, the song Ease is added to my list of infinity songs, when I listen to it while walking, and feel the wind in my hair and smile. That’s when I realize that Troye isn’t going to be just another artist that I listened to, fleetingly. Troye Sivan is here to stay.
Bloom, Troye’s new album, isn’t as melancholic, but the nostalgia somehow remains. Troye isn’t the young boy I once listened to: he has grown as a person and as an artist. Listening to Bloom is an entirely different experience, yet similar to listening to Blue Neighbourhood. It’s because his music has changed, but it’s also because I have changed in these last three years. In fact, I don’t even get to lie on my bunk bed to listen to his album, because I’m in a bed in Mexico- far, far away from home. But somehow, despite all the changes, his music still manages to be magical.
I cannot be bothered to be jealous of Troye for what he creates with words, because I’m too busy enjoying what he creates.
The very first song on the album, Seventeen, seems more grown up than any track on Blue Neighbourhood. Troye somehow seems surer of himself, even though the track highlights his youth and innocence as he looks for love at a young age. It feels like he’s looking back on his naïve self after having grown up and gaining more experience.
To me, it seems like he was entirely lost and confused during Blue Neighbourhood, but with Bloom, he is slowly trying to find his way to the happiness he once lost, piecing himself back together bit by bit. He’s more sure of himself, his sexuality, and happier and more confident in his skin.
The second track on the album is also the first single that was released- My My My!– is a song that I remember eagerly waiting for, many sleepless nights spent wondering what Troye Sivan’s new music from three years later would sound like.
It did not disappoint.
It is, to me, one of the most mature tracks on the album- one of the few songs where Troye does not seem lost or confused or innocent. This is a happy Troye, a Troye Sivan who’s deeply in love and not afraid to show it.
The Good Side is one of my favourite songs on the album, though I’ll admit: I have way too many favourite songs on the album. The Good Side brings back all the sadness and nostalgia from Blue Neighbourhood, and yet, manages to have a completely different sound from his previous album, in a way that is, to me, inexplicable. It takes no time for this song to grow on me. The lyrics are beautiful, and unusually honest. If the lyrics themselves don’t make you sad, the sincerity with which they have been written will. The Good Side reminds you of, and romanticizes in your head, every happy memory you have. It makes you miss a time you didn’t live in, makes you hurt for the experiences you don’t have. It’s painfully brilliant.
Bloom is a song that I did not like for quite a few days after it was released as a single. It only grew on me when I connected it to speakers and played it loudly in a classroom, because I found out that my partner was homophobic. Not the way to deal with homophobia, agreed- but it does help you like songs you didn’t like.
Postcard is my second to favourite track on the album.
“It somehow reminds me of, like, 2014-15? Like, it sounds like the songs from back then. I don’t know how,” I tell my friend.
“It reminds me of all the things that calmed me down in 2015,” she agrees, “It just does.”
“All the things that made you feel at ease,” I grin, and I’m glad the universe aligned so I could make that joke.
I cry the first time I listen to Postcard. It’s so painful and honest- each song in Bloom is painfully honest, I think- and the chorus strikes a chord. You’re still picking me up makes my heart hurt, because Troye’s love is so clearly unrequited. It takes me no time to declare that Postcard is undoubtedly my favourite song on the album, but then I remember Dance to This.
Dance to This is, in fact, my actual favourite song on the album. I love it as soon as I listen to it. It doesn’t sound like any other song I know. It’s something I want to dance to- but it’s soothing and stirring at the same time.
“It makes me feel like I’m a closeted lesbian at a house party in the 80’s, making out with my long term girlfriend secretly in a cupboard after a couple of beers, and realizing just how much I love her,” I tell my friend. It’s all incredibly specific, but maybe that’s why it makes me feel so much.
I add it to my list of infinity songs, and I’m glad Troye continues to create music that makes me feel infinite in every way.
When I listen to Plum, what surprises me the most is that it’s not sexual. I argue that the name Plum is undoubtedly the most sexual song name on the album.
“If there’s any fruit name that can sound sexual, it’s plum,” I say.
But the song, Plum, is in fact more reflective than sexual. The first verse is painful to listen to because it’s a feeling we all know: foreshadowing, something’s going wrong, I can feel it in my bones. I feel my heart sink just by listening to the beginning of the song. But the chorus is less heart-breaking: even the sweetest plum has only got so long is more of stating a fact than being sad over the near-end of a relationship. It’s more acceptance than anything else.
The song, again, has an indescribable vibe, but I haven’t yet found an incredibly specific situation to fit into it. All I know is that it makes me see purple and pink.
I love it instantly, just like I loved Wild as soon as I first heard it. It feels like Troye Sivan makes his music specifically for me: he falls in love when I do, gets his heart broken when I do, and grows with me. I don’t think every artist can do that.
What a Heavenly Way to Die is also, unsurprisingly, one of my favourite songs. It’s peaceful and takes me up in the clouds. Waking up next to someone I love, driving through the hills as the sun rises, holding someone’s hand and feeling the wind in my face, yellow lights and a feeling of peace and contentment. What a heavenly way to die, what a time to be alive is an ironic, yet totally understandable statement. The Troye from My My My!- the one who’s happy and deeply in love- is back again for this song, and stays for the last two songs.
Lucky Strike is another Troye-in-love song, but this one is less peaceful: in fact, it feels like the opposite of peaceful. A lot is happening in this one song, and it feels like Troye is excited about a fairly new relationship, thrilled to be in love, and eager to show his relationship off. He sounds happy, confident and proud. The peace is there, too- but it’s within him. It sounds like he has made peace with himself, finally ready to be the happiest he can be.
Animal brings back the peace from What a Heavenly Way to Die. It’s always refreshing to hear songs that are peaceful, that don’t come from a place of sadness or anger- because there aren’t many. Animal is a perfect last song, it has a sense of closure to it: I’m okay, I’m happy, this is where I leave you today. It’s a beautiful song: it feels like a hot spring on an icy cold day.
With Bloom, Troye Sivan explores every emotion that exists: guilt, pleasure, sorrow, peace. He’s different from the timid boy who came out on YouTube years ago: he is now sure of himself, sure of who he is and doesn’t really care about what others thong. Troye doesn’t just sing about emotions, he makes you feel every one of them. He makes you yearn for these emotions, brings back every memory of them to the surface. Just like Blue Neighbourhood, he creates a space that you can escape to. His songs make you wish you were somewhere else, doing something else- but then remind you why you need to be here. I think that’s what an artist is supposed to do. Every song by Troye is a whole different experience, but it’s never disappointing. He continues to grow and create, and create and grow.
Which is why it’s worth it, waiting for three whole years for a new album.
And so, now I wait (and listen to Bloom as I wait), for another three years, until Troye and I have changed more, grown more and then, I’ll be back, writing four more pages about Troye Sivan and how much I love him.