Big dreams are gateways to big achievements. A dedicated singer at the age of 6 and a Youtube star at the age of 14, Troye Sivan has made music and videos his passion. Citing Michael Jackson as an inspiration, his Youtube popularity became an avenue, first for his covers, and then eventually into releasing his own songs. Named by Billboard as one of the most influential artists under the age of 21, Troye has been dominating charts with his releases for some time now—most recently with his first full album, Blue Neighborhood.
Before the album’s release, Troye released Wild, an Extended Play (EP) that consisted of the first few songs from Blue Neighborhood, last September 2015. With the EP, he released a trilogy of music videos featuring songs from Wild and one song from the then-unreleased Blue Neighborhood. From there, the teasers kept coming—after the last installment of the music video trilogy, Troye left his fans eager with anticipation, uploading an influx of short videos and snippets on his Instagram.
Released internationally last December 4 through EMI Music Australia, Blue Neighbourhood is an album that depicts Troye’s journey with love, fame, and coming to terms with himself. The singer himself wrote all the songs in the album, with help from Alex Hope, Brett McLaughlin, and Allie X. The album starts of with well-known tracks from Wild; Wild, Fools, and Ease. This is an opening that provides familiarity and sets the general mood of the album. High voices, sweet verses, and interesting instrumentals make this album stand out, yet still provide enough appeal to people who haven’t yet had a taste of Troye’s musical style.
Troye alludes and relates much of his songs to his experience as a gay person. He is aware of the tragedies and hardships that the LGBT community go through, and his response? A brilliant message of struggle and acceptance contained in his song Heaven. Betty Who also helps in the feel of the song, with her husky and breathy voice singing about how “The truth runs wild” and how “Voices eat at me while I paint a picture with colors that set me free.” Their harmonies suit the melancholy mood of the song.
Cool and Youth are definite highlights of the album. Both start with a rhythmic set of lyrics, with only drums providing beats, which then builds into a great myriad of instruments in the chorus, relaxing back into the drum beats and raspy, chill vocals in the verses. Cool seems more relaxed however, in contrast to the upbeat chorus of Youth.
Suburbia is a song that touches Troye’s suburban roots, how he grew and learned from them, and how he misses it. Melodious and nostalgic, the violins played in the drop of the song touch the heart, perfectly painting the scene of long sunsets and warm air that he sings about. Lost Boy opens to a heavy bass piano line and smiles dropping with hearts. The song builds to a drum and piano heavy chorus, with Troye singing that he is “Ready to be found.” For Him is the staple love song in any Troye Sivan release, with drums, quirky lyrics and high vocals, reminiscent of those days when we would stay up all night, kilig at thoughts of our crush.
The story of Too Good is one that tells of the aftermath of a one night stand. It romanticizes the feeling of new experiences, with the cymbals in the dragging chorus the saving glory of it. It almost feels like a filler track, although it suits the mood of the album and has good instrumentals in the chorus. Blue is a sad and slow song, introduced by sustained piano chords and the novel quality of Alex Hope and Troye’s harmonies. Superb instrumentals and haunting lyrics set this track as a fan and critic favorite. Talk Me Down is already a familiar tune since it was used as the last installment of the Blue Neighbourhood trilogy. It begins with a piano crescendo and vocals that are solid and stable. It’s a track for any person who misses their significant other, with heartfelt lyrics that talks of holding hands and 3 am shadows.
While listening to Blue Neighbourhood, it is easy to forget that Troye is just in his early 20’s, with so many more years for him to be able to learn and grow into his musical identity. With his excellence in writing lyrics and devising catchy, melodic lines that strum your feelings, Troye Sivan will surely become a household name in pop music. At the end of the album, when the last notes come on, this album is a solid effort in showing Troye’s roots, his struggles, and his life. This album is already a big step towards making his name known, and hopefully, with a few more releases as outstanding as this, on par with his idols. There is still much to improve upon, understandable given this is his first album. However, Troye Sivan does not disappoint, leaving his listeners and fans scrambling to press the replay button, and posting Instagram pictures with snippets of his best lyrics as captions in this masterpiece of an album.