SUPERBLOOM, the third studio album by New York-based band MisterWives, has the same upbeat vibe that we all know and love, with a significant shift in lyrical matter. After an eight-year relationship, lead singer and songwriter Mandy Lee and drummer Etienne Bowler called it quits, but decided to keep the band together. SUPERBLOOM follows Mandy going through a journey of healing and growth.
While many albums are built with the intent of listening from the beginning to the end, it’s not quite as common anymore, with singles taking over. SUPERBLOOM is an exception. You’d be doing the album a disservice by not listening through in the proper order. This album flows in a way that each song builds on the previous, telling a story of heartbreak and picking yourself up when you’re at the lowest of lows. This gives listeners a chance to follow Mandy on her journey.
The first half of the album seems to come from a very dark place where we see her struggling to fully let go. With songs like “ghost” and “whywhywhy”, to “alone” and “stories” you can hear her recollecting her attempts to stay in a loveless relationship. “valentine’s day”, perhaps the most heartbreaking on the album, is when it finally comes to an end. In the middle of the album, we experience Mandy’s pain and anger through songs like “over the rainbow”, “it’s my turn”, and “rock bottom”. Despite the raw, emotional subject matter of these songs, you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t listen to the lyrics. Particularly on “ghost”, we see someone begging another to stay despite them not being fully there, yet it’s so upbeat and high energy that it is clear it will be a great dance along when they perform it live.
On the second half of the album, we hit a turning point. No longer letting this relationship loss dictate her happiness and consume her life, we see Mandy attempt to move on despite the pain and heartbreak she has experienced. “coming up for air” and “oxygen” are motivational songs that help push through loss and pain, and result in growth. Finally, nearing the end of the album, we have songs like “3 small words” and “decide to be happy” that show how far Mandy has come in her evolution; even though she’s been jaded and hurt and hit rock bottom, she’s deserving of love from herself and others. Ultimately, it’s up to her to find her own happiness.
The final song on the album, “SUPERBLOOM”, may be one of my favorites. It has all the signatures of a classic MisterWives hit: horns, piano, beautiful harmonies, and a chorus you can dance to. “SUPERBLOOM” is a celebratory song inspired by poppies. Despite being so fragile, poppies are extremely resilient and strong, surviving through challenges and unexpected terrain. Of this song, Mandy says “I offer up this record to anyone in need of the reminder that you too can come out the other side and superbloom” (SOURCE).
I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak that came from creating this album, on top of recording and performing alongside the person who inspired it. It’s extremely raw and real. This album shows just how much music can mean to a person and how it helps them through times of both immense happiness and sadness. While there are many songs you could pick to listen and dance to as a one-off, by listening to the entire album from start to finish, you will go on a journey alongside the band, where your heart will break and be stitched back together by the final notes.