“My natural go-to is sad songs”, Troye Sivan tells Apple Music. But the South African-born, Australian-raised, LA-residing pop star found himself with a problem when he started work on his second album. “I’d go into the studio and think, ‘What am I sad about?’ And it just wasn’t there. So I started writing these lighter, happier songs.” That has manifested as Bloom, a warm, upbeat record about love, sex, relationships, and self-discovery. “My My My!,” “Bloom,” and “Dance to This (feat. Ariana Grande)” are ecstatic, innuendo-laden dance-pop hits that glow with the brightness of flourishing love. Even the more solemn songs about difficult moments and breaking up are wise and wistful, rather than melancholy. On “The Good Side,” he gently sings to his ex-boyfriend over an acoustic guitar: “I sympathize, and I recognize/And baby, I apologize/That I got the good side of things.” Bloom is, above all else, an ode to the joys of nascent maturity. “I’m out of the teen angst now,” he says. “I’m 23 and I feel a little bit more that I know who I am. I’m super in love. I wanted to immortalize that, as much for myself as anyone else.” Beyond the album’s more dynamic sound—which he says he designed for “hopping around the stage”—what really makes Bloom so special is the intimacy behind it all. “Music has always been extremely personal and extremely cathartic and therapeutic,” says Sivan, citing Amy Winehouse as an example of using specificity to make songs more relatable. “That’s the most powerful way to speak to an audience: to just be real with them.”

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