MOS Album review: Troye Sivan’s “Blue Neighbourhood”

troye-sivan-blue-neighborhood-coverTroye Sivan is a 20 year old singer/songwriter/actor born in South Africa and raised in Perth, Western Australia. What really helped launch Troye’s career in music was his YouTube channel which he started in 2012. Blue Neighbourhood is his debut full length album, which was released on December 4th of 2015. This album follows two EPs, TRXYE (2014) and Wild (2015). Troye was signed to EMI Australia, a Universal Music Australia label in June of 2013.

Read JoHanna’s review of the album below

Since the release date, Blue Neighbourhood has easily become one of the most listened to albums in my entire music library. You’re taken through new love that drives you absolutely mad, the fallout between two people who used to rely on each other, and finding yourself and what you stand for. Personally, I felt as though Troye took me on such a crazy journey with the electric feel of the music and the deep lyrics that aren’t seen much anymore in pop music. So bear with me, I’m going to be a bit cheesy and ask you to take the journey with me. I promise you won’t be disappointed with this album.

The opening track of the album, titled “WILD”, talks about that moment when you fall completely in love with someone and the ways it makes you feel. “Trying hard not to fall” is the very first line and that sets a scene of those first emotions you get with someone new that you’re not sure you really want. But then you get the line, “Never knew loving could hurt this good and it’s driving me wild.” which is a perfect example of that love that you never knew you could feel and, god, it hurts but in the best way possible. The beat is very fun and the lyrics go perfectly with it.

“BITE” starts out almost sounding like a choir during the first chorus. Immediately after that, the beat drops giving the song a very playful feel. Sivan then goes into the first verse with a somber tone, which he keeps for the remainder of the song, leaving you wanting more. In an interview, Troye mentioned that this song was written about his first time in a gay bar. To me, the song can be seen as your first time doing anything that you might have doubts about. The line “kiss me on the mouth, but please don’t bite” shows that you want the experience but you still need to be cautious.

If you’ve ever fallen for someone that you knew you shouldn’t, “FOOLS” is the perfect song for that. The soft piano in the beginning is soon accompanied by the electric beats that help the song liven up. The line repeated over and over thought the song, “only fools fall for you, only fools. Only fools do what I do, only fools fall” is almost like the voice in the back of your mind that tells you how wrong this is. The lyrics that really pulls this song together for me are “Oh, our lives don’t collide, I’m aware of this.
The differences and impulses and your obsession with the little things, you like stick, and I like aerosol. I don’t give a fuck, I’m not giving up, I still want it all.” Because even though you know you shouldn’t be together, you’re not going to stop fighting for them.

“EASE” is the song for when you’re missing home. It’s a sad song featuring the soft, almost ghostly voice of Georgia Nott from Broods. Troye discusses wanting to go home, back to his family and his love rather than being on the road. The line that stands out most to me is “I’m afraid of the life that I’ve made, I’ve made” because it shows that he’s alone and he wants to get back home to be normal, if only for a while.

“THE QUIET” is a song that personally fucks me. I’m sure you’ve all had a fight with someone that meant the world to you stopped talking for a while. And in the period of not talking, you were both too proud to apologize, right? This song captures that period of silence perfectly. The line that really gets to me is “Just tell me, say anything, anything hurts less than the quiet.” Because honestly, there is nothing worse than not having the person you need the most not talking to you. Troye shows more emotion in this song than some of the others and it really comes through very strong over the beat. The synthetic drum sampling combined with melodic keys, makes you wanna nod your head while driving aimlessly.

“DKLA” is one of the slower songs on the album, with its hard drum beats and the soft sound of rain in the beginning, the scene is set. This song talks about a love gone wrong and shutting yourself down from other love to find yourself. It’s very angsty with verses like “starve my heart of touch and time” and “distance makes the heart grow fonder, said by someone stronger than me” and of course the namesake, “I don’t keep love around.” The song features a verse from Tkay Maidza that makes you want to get up and dance around despite the slow drums.

“TALK ME DOWN” talks of such an innocent love. Troye makes himself vulnerable in this track with the lyric “You know I can’t trust myself with my 3am shadow, I’d rather fuel a fantasy than deal with this alone”. To me, this track is like talking to that person who used to be everything for you, and used to always be there after having a fall out and realizing that that’s all you need. You just need that person to be there with you and hold you. Nothing more needs to happen, you just need that familiar hold, reassuring you that it’s going to be okay.

“COOL” comes next, with the lyrics hitting deeper than expected the more you listen. With Troye’s soft voice, accompanied by hard hitting beats, the song talks about trying to be someone he’s not to impress someone with the lyrics, “I’ve got that cigarette smoke, that Saint Laurent coat, but nothing is feeling right. I drink but I choke, I love but I don’t.” This song is perfect paired with Troye’s innocent voice asking the question “I was just trying to be cool… What am I supposed to do?” The song sounds very upbeat for what it is really talking about but it works out perfectly.

The song “HEAVEN” has one of the most powerful lyrics on the entire album stating “Without losing a piece of me, how do I get to heaven? … So if I’m not losing a piece of me, maybe I don’t want heaven.” With so many different religions telling him that he won’t go to heaven because he is gay, he has had worries about what’s going to happen in the long run, and about how the people close to him will take the news of who he really is. He has come to realize that he can’t lose that piece of him, and maybe he really doesn’t want to.

With its fun beats and upbeat tempo, “YOUTH” is the perfect anthem for any young person. Straight away and throughout the song, it asks so many “What If..?” Questions such as “What if we ran away” “what if we lost our minds” and “What if we left today” that really make you think anything is possible. We’re young and reckless and “YOUTH” is about sharing it with someone with the lyric “My youth is yours, run away now and forevermore”. I really think this is the perfect song for a last minute road trip with your best friend, driving until you can’t drive anymore.

Growing up is super scary, I think we can all agree on that. In the beginning of the song “LOST BOY”, Troye’s voice is paired wonderfully with a soft piano, and is quickly joined with a steady drum in the background that’s not too overpowering. By the time the first chorus starts, the beat has built up more and is kept light but is still powerful. The song is focused more on someone scared to make the next step by moving in with someone and spending the rest of forever with them with lines like “I say I wanna settle down, build your hopes up like a tower, I’m giving you the runaround” and “there’s a heart stain on the carpet, I left it, I left it with you with it” and “so what are you waiting for? Someone could love you more, I’m just a lost boy, lost boy.” Referring to himself as a lost boy, sort of like in Peter Pan, not wanting to be found, shows that he isn’t as ready to grow up as he thought. Another line that stands out to me is towards the beginning of the song, “I’m just some dumb kid trying to kid myself that I got my shit together.” I have definitely tried to make myself believe that I have everything figured out and that I’ll be okay when in reality, I don’t.

“for him.” Is the only song on this album that isn’t in all caps. It’s a mystery to many as to why, but you can tell this song is something special. It has my favorite lyric from the album, “You don’t have to say I love you to say I love you”. Because to me, there are so many ways to say I love you to someone from “let me know when you get home safe” to “this reminded me of you” and I love that it’s mentioned. This is a love song that you can’t even tell is a love song because it’s not overdone by any means. It features Australian rapper, Allday with his verse giving the track an extra something to make it unique and special.

“SUBURBIA” is the closing track on the album that starts with a twinkling piano and Troye’s vocals quietly in the background before he comes in strong with a hard drum beat. This song is a perfect ending for the album talking about setting Suns and never letting go of home. “Could be playing hide and seek from home, can’t replace my blood. Yeah, it seems I’m never letting go of suburbia” this song is a good reminder to never forget where you’re from and who you grew up with.

Overall, this album has a very nostalgic feel. All the songs have a feel to them that is both happy and sad. Troye Sivan put so much into this album and you can definitely tell. The sound is very consistent and similar thought the songs, but I promise it does not get boring at any point. If you want an album to listen to in any mood, or you’re looking for something to pick up your mood when you’re feeling low, this is it. I give it 5/5 stars. I love it so much and it will continue to stay on repeat for quite a while for me!

You can pick the album up on iTunes, in stores, or on his website

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