Ashton Irwin, known best as the drummer for 5 Seconds of Summer, announced on Sept. 23 the beginning of his solo career and his first album “Superbloom.” A day later, his first single “Skinny Skinny” was released.
Irwin’s first single is an emotional soft rock commentary on self-image and body dysmorphia. “When writing this song I thought of myself and many other young peoples’ struggles with body image, particularly body dysmorphia,” Irwin tweeted hours before the music video went public. “It’s something I’ve never confronted in a creative form & I’m feeling strong in saying ‘Skinny Skinny’ goes directly to that painful place in my mind.”
The music video echoes all the same messages Irwin says inspired him. Directed by Irwin and Jade Ehlers, the video features Irwin alone in front of several mirrors. Fans were excited to see an interpretive dance style, which was matched with animated illustrations around and on him, done by Gianni Arone.
Movement was a key feature of this video, really focusing in on a physical expression of the conflicted feelings he sings about. “I wanna eat, I wanna stay thin,” he painfully sings. “I wanna dance but I gotta stay in.”
In the second verse of the song, he sings “I’m skin and bone / I’m made of nothing,” while he confronts his reflection. As the shot goes wide, Irwin’s face appears in all the mirrors to sing “you tear me up all of the time,” while illustrations fill the empty space.
The illustrations here are the most literal of the video, filling the screen with words about body image. “Flawed,” “Too skinny,” “I can’t believe you look like that,” and “Eat!” are only a few of the harmful phrases featured.
Other illustrations throughout the video are applied directly to Irwin’s body, like the lines of abs, a heart and at times a whole skeleton. The symbolism is jam packed to compliment the hard-hitting lyrics.
“Skinny Skinny” is one of ten tracks on the upcoming album. Longtime fans, beside new ones, have streamed the video 950,000 times in the week since it’s been out. Irwin did not leave album teasers there, though.
On Sept. 30, Irwin announced a second single that became available at midnight on Oct. 1, “Have u found what ur looking for?” Irwin said in an interview with Rolling Stone that this track is the one which drove the making of a whole album.
The album is a gift to fans who have long awaited more vocals from Irwin. As a drummer, he has not had a vocal solo within the band in the last two albums.
Irwin is the first of the band to branch out into a solo career, but fans need not worry about a breakup any time soon. As they grow from their boy band image to established artists, each is growing into their own creative sphere.
Judging off the success of “Skinny Skinny” and the incoming response to the second single, “Superbloom” looks like it's set to top the charts when it comes out Oct. 23.