The world meets a new Ashton Irwin on "Skinny Skinny", the first single from his solo debut LP, Superbloom.
The most alarming thing about “Skinny Skinny” – the debut solo offering from 5 Seconds Of Summer frontman Ashton Irwin and lead single for his forthcoming album Superbloom – is that it sounds nothing like what we’ve come to think he was capable of. Once the initial shock passes that this is the same voice behind “She Looks So Perfect”, we’re left staring into Irwin’s brain as he stands in front of a mirror – intensely peering back at himself.
While 5 Seconds Of Summer have earned their legion of fans, their sound has been – for the most part – unsurprising. It’s been great, it has soared and it has shone, but it has been unsurprising. Can you blame them? Their unique, brash brand of pop/rock works so well for them, there’s no point trying to mess with the formula.
But that formula can be rigid, limiting. That’s why “Skinny Skinny” sounds so shocking, yet so refreshing. As Ashton strips away the boy-band glamour that’s been bestowed upon him, he’s left himself – and all the grit, vulnerability and rawness that comes with it. A song written about body dysmorphia, Irwin’s voice is as fragile as his feelings. It never gets to the arena-ready screams fans are used to hearing from him. Instead – muted, understated, breaking.
“Skinny Skinny” serves as a hard-to-swallow antidote to the hyper-commodified, self-love anthems we’ve seen throughout the years. While those messages are still necessary, a journey to self-love isn’t all-smooth and it’s not finite. Lessons have to be learned, kept at bay when you need them. Self-love isn’t something that’s always there, regardless of when you’ve felt it in the past. “Skinny Skinny” – in all its fuzzed-out glory – reckons with self-love’s temporal nature, and begs the listener to make peace with it, if only for a moment.
Main Image Credit: "Skinny Skinny", Ashton Irwin