SUPERBLOOM is the third and longest studio album from 6-piece band MisterWives. SUPERBLOOM is also one of the most delightfully painful albums released this year. Vocalist and songwriter Mandy Lee, guitarist Marc Campbell, multi-instrumentalists Jesse Blum and Michael Murphy, drummer Etienne Bowler and bassist William Hehir came together to deliver a musical project created from such a guttural and powerful feeling that it needs to be appreciated in full. Divided into three acts, SUPERBLOOM is the story of the death and the blooming rebirth of a broken heart.
Act I begins with the end. Mandy Lee first said “all good things come to an end / but it’s not the end” in 2019 as one of the singles from themini bloom EP. We might have been oblivious about what the song meant at that first round of songs but that didn’t stop us from enjoying it right then and there. But perhaps it was for a greater understanding of the project that the band had to announce that two of the members who were envolved romantically separated and the album was written through the pain and rebuild of that. This makes the end sound more powerful, separated or not, the band is still going. It’s not the end.
Meanwhile, ghost, starts telling you the story that led to the end. The soft nostalgia on seeing a relationship and feelings dissolve before your eyes, until they become a ghost of what they once were. A ghost that will chase you even after things are over and there’s only a loud echo of what once was. “I have tried, I have tried to erase you / But that’s a crime, that’s a crime I just can’t do”. Some would say that the longer the pain, the worse it is, even if it’s just a continuous discomfort without a huge crash.
whywhywhy was the first single from the album and one of the first songs introduced to fans on tour, well before the album was done recording. An anthem for people who feel forced to look happy even when they are not and, only when they are alone, reveal the facets of their sadness.
Arguably one of the best songs of the year, alone continues the story of the empty shell where the one you once loved was. I could try to explain this song, but I feel like the lyrics “Can’t believe how far we fell / I’m not feeling it but I’m keep saying that I’m doin ‘well / And I’m so done with lying / Done with solo crying / I’m so done with trying / Alone” makes it clear what kind of hell you can face listening to this song.
stories takes the story to climax with unsuccessful attempts to stay with someone until the final exit. It is also proof of the perfect lyricism that makes Amanda Lee Duffy one of the best lyricists of our generation. This woman wrote the words
Turning into big cries
We could take the whole ocean
And fill it up a hundred times
But the mind’s a crazy thing
It believes what it wants to
Standing in the cold water
Like it isn’t turning us blue
And then expected us all to be okay. Not gonna happen.
Closing up the first act, valentine’s day arrives ready to take the leftover pieces of your heart and stick them on your chest. Nothing quites hurt like this song. It leaves you broken and lost and it takes you a few songs to feel complete again.
Anger is not one of the stages of grief for no reason. Say hi to the second act with over the rainbow, the perfect song for anyone who stopped believing in love after valentine’s day (me, me, choose me. I’M HERE). Only those who have had a very broken heart know the instinctive desire to never want to feel again, regardless of what the feeling is, described in “I’m over the rainbow / Drifting in the snow / Please keep me ice cold / Keep me hollow”.
it’s my turn takes it a step closer to healing with the reminder that you deserve to freak out a little when your heart is thrown from a 19-story building. It would be a song about getting over, if it were not-so explicit in talking about how the attempt to overcome something is not necessarily the cure. Not even not feeling anything is the cure. The cure is a 19 track album that translates your feeling as well as this chorus:
Now it’s my turn
To be the crazy one
To finally come undone
To go and let the house just burn
To mess the system up
So I’ma raise a cup
And celebrate until I learn
That you can chase the sun
That you can fake the fun
And all the poison makes it worse
But it’s my turn
find my way homeis another classic from the EP that arrived on the album to crown Act II gloriously with the fourth stage of grief: depression. Getting lost in the middle of loss and sadness is so normal and so confusing at the same time. Feeling lost about yourself and the inner place where you feel safe is a feeling that I knew very well this past year and I know that I am not the only one. Maybe that’s one of the things that make this album so beautiful. All the feelings were felt last year, in one way or another.
7-2 reminds you of the anchors that keep you existing when nothing else in life makes sense. “Cause I’ve won hands over again with the least favored pair of cards / seven-two, I’ll always love you’ cause you got me so damn far” perfectly replicates how we feel about the things that carry us back to safety.
And ending Act II, rock bottom comes through. Released as a single at the beginnig of the quarantine, the song was the soundtrack of several at-home crises through 2020. A lot of people felt they were coming out of rock bottom at certain times of the year, but in the end it was just a little elevation on the ground. Still, it is important to recognize our own ability to overcome certain times we’ve been through recently.
The heart is reborn on Act III with the arrival of coming up for air, the perfect song for those who have been through too much being too young and finally decided that they are tired of feeling suffocated in the routine of life and in the way time passes.
But the first breaths are always the most difficult and it’s hard to let go of what your body already knows, even when what it knows is just sadness, so oxygen comes to remind you that leaving all your feelings dormant is not superation and that not everything that keeps you alive is good for you.
Because every album about feelings needs a good ballad, running in place comes to cover this area with an emotional piano in a song about feeling that everyone is moving on while you stay in the same place.
And that’s when you decide to be happy. The 15th track of the album reminds you that happiness is often a choice and conditioning your body to feel happiness allows happiness to come naturally when you’re ready.
Happiness arrives with love me true. Was anyone going to warn me that it is possible to love again after a relationship that had a lot of good feelings, but ended like all things end eventually? Did anyone think to inform me about the quality love has of renewing itself within you even after you are hurt? Or did you want me to find out by listening to my favorite band’s album myself? Because that worked actually, so thank you.
3 small words continues the image of lovebirds while being one of the best romantic songs of 2020. Mandy Lee proves again to be one of the best lyricists of our generation. When she says “And I know I’m going slow / Can I dive back into waters that I barely survived?” Perfectly throwing back to the beginning of the story the album tells. But also “Right when I / was comfortable being lonely” referring to No Need For Dreaming, one of the songs from their debut album Our Own House? Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique.
muse is for people whose sexuality is artists or creative people that you just can’t deal with being as talented as they are. Those people you dream of writing a song about you one day, you know? Okay, maybe that last part is just me.
SUPERBLOOM closes the album being the perfect song about flourishing in adversity. It’s one of my favorite songs in history and I was lucky to be a part of the fanvideo made for the song last year.