Review Summary: "Leave this Blue Neighborhood" - Never thought you'd ask!
Opening a review for an album is not easy. If you're like me, you'll spend hours obsessing over each word and phrase you use, rereading it to yourself aloud like a deranged maniac to hear if it all flows together, making every last tweak and adjustment until it finally fits your insane standard. Thats why it was odd that, as someone who has plenty to say about every thing, no matter how minute, when I finally sat down to review Australian Pop artist Troye Sivan's debut Blue Neighborhood, I was left with so few thoughts and so little to say. I tried to fill the emptiness with excuses for the albums quality, but that hardly seemed worth the effort when less time seemed to be placed into the product itself. I tried to level with Troye, as the struggles for identity both in society and our personal lives is something that everybody goes through, but it seemed as if I was trying to hard too find artistry in a blank canvas. I even went on a long rant about how his general immaturity to both the music industry and life were somehow connected to my personal struggles as a teenager finding my way in life, but it seemed too personal and boring. I crossed huge gaps and jumped over canyons just to find some iffy, loosely related comparisons noteworthy enough to talk about. And that, right there, is the problem. By the time Blue Neighborhood runs its course, it feels like nothing at all worth mentioning, remembering, or even thinking about occured. Like reality as you know it went through a time lapse, fast forwarding 37 minutes later, like on the X-Files.
That might sound overly harsh to say about such a young, starting arist, but never before has a project left me so dumbfounded, so utterly speechless at its average-ness that I genuinely couldn't find one factor that let it stand out as interesting in the slightest. Some might equate Troye to being a victim of the pop genre, a category of music that has been largely raped of its mainstream integrity by producers and corporate giants alike. And to a certain extent, that point is fairly valid. But even the mainstream hits being played through radiowaves today are brimming with more character, confidence, and spice than anything here. So even in his own genre he fails to create any real hooks. Beyond that though, if you set aside the context and give him the standards of a genuine artist, his work becomes even more unbelievably mediocre.
Every song, from start to finish, is a love song. And by no means are these thrilling tension building tracks of triumph, or bleak analysis of past romantic tragedies, but rather middle of the road stories with middle of the road emotions. From "Wild" to "Fools", everything is constantly teetering between a song of sorrow and loss, and happiness and rejoice. Troye just can't make up his mind over whether he wants a song to be mournful or cheerful, and this indecisiveness makes there feel like a lack of any real human quality to stick too. It isn't helped by Troye's voice either. On Blue Neighborhood, Troye chooses to take a melodic monotone voice over an emotional natural one, selling the narrative complexities of each song even less and once again adding to the blandness of the album. With all due respect, if nothing stands out about Troye as a singer, whats the point of a Troye CD? The over produced electronics dont help in this case either, and could just as easily be placed on any other pop CD.
In the end of the day, Blue Neighborhood is a nightmare. It's so inoffensive, so mediocre that it can't help but be boring. If Troye tried to bring out a more natural tone, if the songs had better direction, and if there was more emotive instrumentation, we might have actually gotten a good pop CD. Not recommended.