Trigger warning: The album and the article contain mentions of depression, body dysmorphic disorder, and eating disorders.
Since he first walked into our lives, Ashton Irwin never stepped back from discussing mental health issues. He was always so open about mental illnesses and he realized that he could make a difference because of the influence that comes with being a big musician and he has always chosen to use this voice for important matters. Ashton thought mental illnesses shouldn’t be considered as taboos that people avoid discussing; but instead, rather, they should be viewed as a part of life that we must acknowledge. He first tried to put this thought into work with his bandmates from 5SOS while they were working on their second album, Sounds Good Feels Good, which was released exactly five years to the day, before his debut solo album Superbloom was released.
We all know Ashton has been saving lives for a long time, but he definitely changed everything with Superbloom. Superbloom not only taught us that we are not alone in our challenges, but it also taught us that there is still hope. There always has been. It has been one year since Superbloom was released and Ashton Irwin proved to us once again what a great choice we have made by stanning this man.
With the COVID-19 epidemic striking and trapping us all in our homes, we were forced to reflect on our lives and even face difficulties that we had been putting off for far too long. And Ashton Irwin isn’t any different than the rest of us. When 5 Seconds of Summer’s entire tour was canceled due to the pandemic, Ashton Irwin used the opportunity to start working on his own record with his roommate, producer Matt Pauling. This is how everything began. Of course, the 5SOS Fam had no idea that they would soon realize how lucky they are to be able to listen to their favorite band’s solo projects, while they are still together.
After Ashton had announced the album on his social media accounts, we were all so excited. He explained that he created this album freely with the support of his bandmates and friends, and, while making this album, he took a look at the depth of his mind. We knew at that point that the entire album would be written from the heart and would be very personal to Ashton. With the announcement of his album, he also announced his first solo single, ‘Skinny Skinny.’ It was a perfect debut single to express the concept of the album and with the release of ‘Skinny Skinny,’ Ashton Irwin began to have a significant influence on our lives with Superbloom. It doesn’t seem very often that men talk about and share their experiences of eating disorders and body dysmorphia, and this is on toxic masculinity. While Ashton is defying the toxicity’s standards, he’s also expressing a side of himself that we’ve never seen before.
“I wanted to capture what it feels like to struggle not feeling at home in your own body. This is a video of battle, footage of the fight, a snapshot of resilience. I hope you find this video empowering.”Ashton Irwin on ‘Skinny Skinny’ Music Video
Despite the fact that we knew Superbloom would be personal, most of us weren’t expecting to witness Ashton in such a vulnerable state. He put his whole heart into it, and his traumas were, of course, a part of that heart. Songs about sadness, addiction, misery, and body dysmorphia make up the record. The album’s lyrics read like an autobiography about Ashton’s life. Ashton explains the concept of the album as “the things I have gone through and know that others have, too.” With his debut solo project, Ashton reminds us that, despite his excellent concealment skills, he is a human being who battles with major concerns. Even this is a great reason to admire Ashton and Superbloom because he shows us his most sensitive sides. He was very brave for doing this, giving us a glimpse inside his mind and possibly exposing himself more than expected, but we think he knew we would accept it all. He finds his strength from his vulnerability, both to us and to himself.
“It’s a painful thing to try, grit your teeth another time‘SCAR’
When the world leaves a scar on you”
Ashton Irwin’s Superbloom is an album that is perfectly balanced, exactly like life. It’s a true coming-of-age record. On the album, Ashton not only demonstrates that we are not alone in our troubles, but he also demonstrates that we are not trapped. He’s reminding us that there’s always hope, that there’s always a way out, and that we’ll get there eventually. The wonderful part is that we aren’t the only ones who are reminded of these things, Ashton also reminds himself of all of these. As an album made based on self-growth and self-understanding, Ashton sees the light at the end of the tunnel by recognizing the dark behind him. He portrays light and darkness on the same canvas, hope and despair, past and future. He doesn’t do it by romanticizing his traumas, which is the finest part. He tells it like it is when it comes to the dark sides of life. Ugly, painful, tiring. But in the end, he can do the same for the bright parts of it. Glorious, hopeful, powerful. This record serves as a reflection of Ashton’s life as well as a lesson for all of us.
“Rebuild it back, a vase or a shattered crown‘Matter of Time (Interlude)’
Dive into the ocean and you’ll never drown
Darkness shows up, don’t you let it grow
The light will shine in then your heart will know”
Ashton Irwin’s musical revolution is also shown in this self-reflective album. Ashton released Superbloom as an independent artist. The whole budget for the album came from his own pocket, as did the entire concept. Ashton Irwin wrote, played, recorded, and produced everything on the album. He even directed his first and only music video ‘Skinny Skinny.’ We can see his fingerprints on every piece of Superbloom. This is also why he and, of course, we, love this record so much. It is a brilliantly written album with lots of metaphors combined with a musical feast. In terms of music, he drew influence from Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots, Nick Drake, and others, while being unassuming that he was about to become our musical idol while working on this album.
“Keep on trying to move forwards, I never wanna go back‘Greyhound’
I won’t ever let no one try to beat me like that”
Superbloom was an album that we all needed. We wanted to see that someone we care about understands our struggles, that someone who can inspire us to believe that, no matter how exhausted we are, we can make it to the end. Since the album came out at such a critical point in everyone’s lives, it became our support. The release of Ashton’s highly personal album inspired and continues to inspire his fans to talk about their own challenges with their own form of art. Fans love the album but it’s not enough to explain the feeling they feel towards this album. They embrace the album. They sing the lyrics, play the songs on their own instruments, draw things based on Superbloom‘s concept, edit it, and talk about it whenever they have the opportunity. They try to thank Ashton Irwin in whatever way they can for this record. They understand that Superbloom is an album about recovery and healing and that it will always be a safe shore for them. Superbloom is such a massive record that it brought out the best in not only Ashton, but everyone who listened to it. You can stream Ashton Irwin’s Superbloom here.
“Power to you, love to you, respect always.Ashton Irwin
My love eternally,”
For years, we have tried to be the voice of the fans as The Honey POP. So, on behalf of the 5SOS Fam, we’d want to express our gratitude to Ashton Irwin. Thank you, Ashton, for creating such a wonderful album with so many layers of meaning. Thank you for assuring us that “the light will shine in” eventually. It means a lot to us. We adore you and are incredibly proud of you.
What is your favorite song from Ashton Irwin’s Superbloom? What does the album mean to you? Tell us in our comments, and over on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! If you want to celebrate the first anniversary of Superbloom with us, don’t forget to join our Discord server, The Hive.
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Featured Image Source: Kaykay Blaisdell. Edited by Nazlıcan Ay for The Honey POP.