Released: 4th December 2015.
“I am not trying to anger people. Or make some huge statement. It’s just me. That’s who I am.”
Nevertheless, on 'Blue Neighbourhood', openly gay vlogger-turned-popstar Troye Sivan will certainly raise eyebrows - whether it be his his criticisms of his sheltered suburban life in the album's title, his frequent use of pronouns to not obscure his sexuality, or his lyrical honesty in his desire for sex in "Wild" and "Bite"; it seems 20-year-old Sivan is not scared to voice his opinion and deviate from the norm.
However, whilst Sivan himself may not fit the familiar cookie-cutter pop star shape, his music certainly does. Listening to 'Blue Neighbourhood', it is hard not to be reminded of Lena's "Catapult" in the sultry, dark pop of "DKLA"; or Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" in the mechanic, processed backing vocals of "Youth". But rather than questioning the originality of the album, instead another thought comes to mind: Sivan has successfully captured the sound of today.
Everything about the album screams modern and trendy: the album cover (a painting depicting Sivan in his 'Blue Neighbourhood'), his youthful co-writer Alex Hope, and the cutting-edge, intense, and intelligent production. It is a stylish album of smoke and mirrors, yet at the same time, is heartfelt and personal.
The slick, pulsating beats and heavy, dominating synths that run through the album may be a little too familiar, but they make the album a cohesive record that sounds like a body of work, rather than just a collection of songs thrown together.
What really makes 'Blue Neighbourhood' superior to its contemporaries is its lyrics. Heartfelt, genuine and intelligent, the highly thought out lyricism enhances every song and makes them all the more relatable. It's hard not to empathise and feel Sivan's betrayal in "The Quiet" when he's "left here in the dust, with the taste of broken trust" or his desire in "Wild" even though he is aware his relationship is toxic with lyrics like "you make my heart shake, bend and break, but I can't turn away".
Sivan's voice is surprisingly rich and gentle, and one would think that it would sound more at home on an Adele-esque soul album rather than the harsh production on 'Blue Neighbourhood'. But somehow they fit together well and add an extra level of depth and sophistication to each song.
'Blue Neighbourhood' may lack originality, but its clever lyrics, smart production, and catchy choruses make this a minor flaw and clearly show Sivan is destined to go stratospheric. Keep your eyes peeled.