SINGLE REVIEW: Ashton Irwin – Skinny Skinny

With the global pandemic putting a pause on live music and global travel, 5 Seconds Of Summer haven’t been able to tour their fourth studio album ‘No Shame’ like planned. Instead the Australian four-piece have been in isolation and taking time for themselves. During this period Ashton Irwin has been secretly working on a debut solo album with his producer/housemate Matt Pauling in Los Angeles that hears him finding his voice as a songwriter and vocalist. 

‘Superbloom’ will be unveiled to the world on October 23 and promises to be a candid and vulnerable body of work that explores childhood, alcoholism, depression, death, addiction, despair and hope. Giving a glimpse into this reflective world he’s created, the lead single ‘Skinny Skinny’ is a very personal and emotionally charged reflection on body dysmorphia. Exploring the depths of a conversation he had with his fifteen year old brother who is already hung up on his own mental image of what his body should look like, he reflects on the moments in his life where he’s also been plagued by that state of mind. 

Body dysmorphia is something that is become increasingly more common in the social media obsessed world we are living in. But for some reason it’s still a taboo subject that people don’t know how to have an open and healthy conversation about. There are a lot of stigmas that surround this topic, and it’s through songs like this that we can begin to normalise talking about it, and people who are suffering from these thoughts can feel more comfortable and encouraged to speak up and ask for help. 

“My second face, my damn reflection. We always meet when I’m defeated. You tear me up all of the time. My second face, don’t wanna listen. We always meet without permission” he sings during the first verse as he opens up about the toxic relationship he has with the mirror. “I wanna eat, I wanna stay thin. I wanna dance but I gotta stay in. Hey, skinny skinny, don’t you think about the future” he then adds during the post-chorus. 

The vulnerable storyline and messaging of the song is layered by a minimalistic production that broodingly builds throughout the duration. There is an immediate melodical comparison drawn to Harry Styles with his dreamy harmonies and his DIY indie-rock palette which is really experimentally charged. There are soft moments that embrace the vulnerability and tender confession, and then there are heavier moments that feel glitchy and manic which are meant to represent the thoughts that are eating away inside his head. 

‘Skinny Skinny’ immediately captivates you from the first listen and impresses you with it’s strong sonical positioning away from anything 5SOS have ever released. This is truly a project that is from Ashton Irwin’s heart, and hears him finding his individual voice as an artist which is a really exciting thing to see come into fruition.