Superbloom shows Irwin blooming into a standout solo artist

Superbloom is Ashton Irwin’s debut album, separate from his band 5 Seconds of Summer. This announcement came as a complete shock to everyone, as 5 Seconds of Summer have been actively creating music and have been very successful. Fans of Irwin and 5 Seconds of Summer were freaking out, thinking that Irwin’s solo debut meant an end of the Australian rock band, but that is certainly not the case. Irwin took to Instagram to share his announcement about Superbloom. In the post, he not only shared his excitement about the album, but he shut down assumptions and rumors that 5 Seconds of Summer was breaking up by saying, “It brings me the greatest joy of all that I am in a band that allows me to create freely inside and outside of it.” Superbloom is a tour inside the mind of Irwin and the mental struggles he faces. Its focus is on all of the key parts of his life, including the good and the bad, and him accepting and embracing it all.

Blood is thicker than water

“SCAR” begins with a magical and otherworldly intro leading into a 90s Foo Fighters-esque rock-infused song. This song is about the strife of staying strong. He is singing this song to his family. In the second verse, he sings,

“Mother mother/ Can you show me the way?/Can you light a tunnel to light of day?/ I'm sick of dealing with the problems at hand,”

in the third verse, he sings,

“Sister, Lauren, don't you fade away/ Sister, Lauren, love you all the way/ I'm feeling hopeful that you'll show a man/ How to love someone as true as you can,”

and finally, in the fourth verse he sings,

“Brother, brother we speak day to day/ You're a blueprint for a future that's paved/ My wishful thinking might not go as we planned/ But I'll help you be a better man.”

He is singing to his mother, Anne Marie, who raised him as a single mother, his younger sister, Lauren, and his younger brother, Harry; whom he loves more than anything. “SCAR” is an ode to them and how they’ve stuck with him through all of the strenuous moments he, and they, underwent.

“Greyhound” is about Irwin’s family’s frustration and the endless cycle of being born, working your life away, and then dying. Irwin told Rolling Stone Australia that it’s also about the relationship that his mother had with a greyhound trainer, and if the greyhound didn’t come in first place, they would be shot and killed. That image scarred Irwin as a child and kept coming back to him. This six-minute and 19-second song, the longest on his album, questions if the race was even worth it in the end.

Self-reflection

“Skinny Skinny” is Irwin’s debut single. This song is about the battle of “not feeling at home in your own body.” It’s about never being happy with the way you look and always striving to look better. Irwin sings about body dysmorphia and eating disorders, specifically anorexia and bulimia. According to ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), 28.8 million Americans, or 9% of the U.S. population, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. It’s commendable that Irwin is brave enough to use his platform and shed some light on this issue, which isn’t often discussed, while also bringing in his personal experience.

When Irwin sings,

“My second face, my damn reflection/ We always meet when I'm defeated,”

he is singing about body dysmorphia in the first verse. According to Mayo Clinic, someone with body dysmorphia can’t stop thinking about "imperfections" in their physical appearance. They frequently check the mirror, searching for reassurance or end up grooming, sometimes for “many hours each day,” because they center their attention entirely on their appearance and body image. This develops into an unhealthy relationship with mirrors and even their own reflection.  “My second face” implies that Irwin wants to dissociate himself from his reflection because it feels like it isn’t him anymore. “My damn reflection” shows how disgusted he is by his own reflection, displaying the relationship he has with mirrors. The lyrics,

“I wanna eat, I wanna stay thin/ I wanna dance but I gotta stay in,”

allude to anorexia. According to EDV (Eating Disorders Victoria), anorexia is an eating disorder in which the person who has it has a “low body weight and body image distortion with an obsessive fear of gaining weight, which manifests itself through depriving the body of food. It often coincides with increased levels of exercise.” The lyrics,

“My fingers stretching into my larynx,”

describe purging, which is when someone forces themselves to throw up after they’ve just eaten, to lose, or to stop gaining weight. According to NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association), this is a sign that someone is suffering from bulimia. In addition, this song also talks about how eating disorders are often kept a secret from the person’s loved ones, with nobody truly knowing they are hurting.

“The Sweetness” speaks about how fleeting happiness is. Right from the get-go, the beginning sounds like a drowned out version of the intro of “The Joker and the Thief” by Wolfmother. This isn’t a bad thing though. It works in favor of the song. The lyrics,

“When the sweetness seeps into your bloodstream/ When the sweetness makes you love your life again/ When the darkness creeps into your basement/ When the darkness takes it all away again,”

literally sound like an evil force. It’s to represent the negative overpowering the positive. The darkness depicts the obstacles and challenges Irwin has been facing mentally. 

Looking on the bright side

“Sunshine” is a song about feeling disheartened, frustrated, and ultimately down about the issues in today’s society. One of those issues being the news. In the lyrics,

“Stop watchin' the news/ You're something they used to scare you just like a bad dream,”

he talks about his distaste for the news and how it's used to alarm people. The song’s beginning has the same melodies and feel as “I am the Walrus” by the Beatles. The melody is soft and uplifting, with his voice harmonizing gracefully. Throughout the song, Irwin is singing about his dissatisfaction, but he looks for the silver lining through it all--even when it can be difficult at times.

Opening up

“Perfect Lie” is about the previous songs that were written for 5 Seconds of Summer. Irwin recognizes that those songs are a part of his life and helped him and his band climb the ladder to acclaim. He exhaustedly sings of his regrets in regards to the writing behind the songs being fabricated, exaggerated, and coming from a dishonest place. The lyrics,

“Everybody fakes it 'til they make it/ Everybody loves it 'til they hate it,”

are a prime example of that. Along with the regrets comes disliking the songs. The lyrics,

“I'll try to love without hating you,”

represent how even though he dislikes some of their older songs, he loves the fans and could never hate them for liking their older music. He just wants to make it a point that he will no longer write like that or release music that isn’t from an honest and raw place.

Top Tracks:

Skinny Skinny

Sunshine   

SCAR

Recommended if you like:

Foo Fighters

The Strokes

The White Stripes


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