Sivan welcomes you to the ‘Blue Neighbourhood’

Troye Sivan’s debut album echoes past EPs with a new twist.
The cover of australian singer Troye Sivan’s recent studio album “Blue Neighbourhood.” Courtesy of EMI Music Australia

If you aren’t one to spend hours on the Internet, the name Troye Sivan may mean nothing to you now, but it’s about to.

An Australian teen who found fame through his vlog-style YouTube videos, Troye Sivan has been fostering an audience since creating his channel back at age 17. But now at 20, he’s finding audiences outside of the Internet through his music.

Before “Blue Neighbourhood,” Sivan released two EPs: “TRXYE” back in 2014 and, more recently, “WILD” in September 2015. “WILD” received praise from celebrities like Taylor Swift and Sam Smith.

“Blue Neighbourhood” acts as an extension of “WILD.” The first three tracks are from the EP, easing the listener into the rest of the album by giving them a taste of what’s to come. Sivan sticks to the precedents he set for himself in his previous releases by keeping up a heavy electronic instrumentation, yet finds a way to keep it fresh.

Sivan’s voice is very distinct. He’s got an ethereal quality to his tone that makes it seem as though he belongs in another world, not this one. Sivan definitely showcases this magic quality on songs like “HEAVEN (feat. Betty Who)” and “LOST BOY.”

Both “EASE (feat. Broods)” and “COOL” contrast the other-worldly sounds, having a more grounded instrumentation and strong percussion. “YOUTH” is reminiscent of his previous EP, “TRXYE.” It’s the kind of song you would listen to driving around on a summer night with all the windows rolled down.

“TALK ME DOWN” may be one of my favorite songs off the album. It has the vulnerability that Sivan conveys on all the other tracks, but it also has an innocence that the other songs lack. Featuring a strings section, the song takes a break from the heavy electronic sounds that are throughout the rest of the album.

The song “for him. (feat. Allday)” is purposefully singled out, but not because of its musical composition. On the track listing, it is the only song whose title is not in all caps. This adds intimacy to a song that clearly is written like a love letter but doesn’t sound like one. It’s a love song for people who let their actions speak, rather than their words.

The opening track “WILD” and closing track “SUBURBIA” are the bookends of the album. “WILD” is an anthem for young love, with Sivan wishing to “leave this Blue Neighbourhood” so he can be with his boyfriend. But by “SUBURBIA,” he’s found that he can never really leave his hometown behind, creating a fitting close to the album.

Overall this is a great first album. Sivan has definitely gotten off to a great start and this debut makes me excited to see what’s to come.

MOVE gives Blue Neighbourhood a 4.5 out of 5

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