CIMS The Playlist
Bloom is an incomparably sweet and intimate work, and yet it's so well-named because from that base unfurls something grand and universal. It's also full of bops—a dizzy swirl of '80s synth-pop, crisp modern production, timeless balladry, and joyous dance—whose bold streaks and subtle shades effortlessly bridge arty to accessible. Sivan executed his vision with care, first writing with trusty collaborator-confidants Bram Inscore, Allie X, and Leland, then taking those songs to producer Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Usher, Kelela) and starting another batch in Sweden with Max Martin's MXM crew. He worked from a sonic moodboard—everyone from Madonna to This Mortal Coil, Phil Collins to Perfume Genius, Drake to Sky Ferreira—and emerged with a sound distinctly his own, but broad enough to span the liberating pulse of "My My My!," the epic stadium-rock of "Animal," and the cozy feel of Ariana Grande duet "Dance to This."