Review: Troye Sivan’s “Blue Neighbourhood”

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Australian YouTube personality, singer, and LBGTQ advocate Troye Sivan has made waves in the music scene with Blue Neighbourhood, released in December 2015, with sixteen tracks in total. The album has managed to appeal to every music magazine, with reviews commending the young artist and general ratings of no less than 4 stars.

I first found about Sivan on YouTube, like most of his fans did, circa 2010-2011. I categorise YouTubers stars in two sections: the old school, and the new school. Old school include the classics like Nigahiga, Smosh, KevJumba and mychonny, who paved the way from new school personalities like Zoella, Tyler Oakley, IISuperwomanII, danisnotonfire – which Troye Sivan falls under. Admittedly, I never watched much of Sivan’s videos so when I heard about the release of Blue Neighbourhood, I wasn’t in a rush to listen to it.

The music video for YOUTH was released yesterday, which sparked my interest in listening to the rest of the album. The sound of YOUTH is probably the happiest and most danceable song on Blue Neighbourhood (besides WILD), making me reminiscent of old memories with old friends. Undoubtedly, the theme of Blue Neighbourhood are the three big L’s of every relationship: love, longing, and loss. Sivan perfectly executes the natural cycle of love with a delicate, dreamy, and melancholic sound. It’s hard to listen to this album without opening old wounds.

One of my favourite things about this album is that Sivan showcases local Australian talent, including Adelaide’s rap queen Tkay Maizda and Melbourne’s Allday. Although I don’t listen to Maizda and Allay frequently, it’s rewarding as a fellow Australian to imagine millions of people getting a taste our talent. Blue Neighbourhood captures the pop/alternative/electronic crossover that’s currently popular in the music scene, while simultaneously channelling sounds from the 90’s (think 90’s slow R’n’B tracks). However I found myself thinking how this record reminded me of Frank Ocean’s 2012 channel ORANGE as well.

Album standouts:

QUIET
YOUTH
for him.
SUBURBIA
BLUE

I’ve always had a soft spot for simple, stripped-down love songs so the very moment I heard the slow playing of the piano, I knew that the 15th song, BLUE, would be my favourite song on the album. A softly sung first verse by Sivan followed by a smooth chorus by Australian writer/producer/artist Alex Hope marked my doom. Scrolling the Internet to pass time, this song managed to stop me in my tracks. The entirety of the song is composed softly, sung intimately, and lyrically, it paints the imagery of a person consumed with so much love that they’re willing to do anything for their partner’s happiness .

Sivan perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be young and in love – the dedication, devotion, desperation to the hope and the loneliness – the pure love and the pure heartbreak. Blue Neighbourhood isn’t a cure but moreover the perfect companion for your heavy heart, and the nostalgia and melancholy that comes with it.

Happy listening!

Watch Troye Sivan’s music video for YOUTH below.

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