The pop-rock band, Misterwives, has come a long way since their 2015 debut album, “Our Own House.” Their sophomore studio album, “Connect the Dots,” held the theme that moments in your life do not always make sense or follow a logical order. However, from new co-writers and producers, Misterwives branched out to create “SUPERBLOOM,” which I believe is their strongest record yet. Released on July 24 this year, via Fueled by Ramen, “SUPERBLOOM” is an album full of funk and soul that will shatter your heart into pieces and then put it back together again.
Lead singer Mandy Lee puts everything into writing the story for this album that shares her raw experience after she broke up with her partner of eight years, Etienne Bowler. Bowler is also the drummer for the band. There are many underlying, but intentional, themes in “SUPERBLOOM.” The most prevalent theme includes the truth of heartbreak and vulnerability that comes with the truth. I recommend listening to the album in order to fully understand and appreciate what it means to pick yourself up from rock bottom. So, even if you do it once, please listen to this album from song one all the way to song 19 and experience what it means to learn to love yourself and super bloom.
Keep reading to take a deep dive into the album and my interpretation of each track
“SUPERBLOOM” starts off with the song, “the end.” It may seem weird to have a track named “the end” as your first song on the album, however, this song marks the band’s new beginning. Mandy Lee sings the lyric, “All good things come to an end, to make room for new beginnings,” which acknowledges the disheartening closing of one chapter of life, while welcoming a new beginning that follows it. Lee describes the album as her journey of, “[Finding] a superbloom within a barren desert” and how you need both to grow.
With this track, Mandy Lee writes about the feeling of being followed and haunted by the “ghost” of a past lover. These lyrics, from the post-chorus, “If I can’t have you in-between, I’ll have you in-between” suggest that Lee lowered her standards of her relationship in an attempt to salvage it. From Lee’s interview with “Paper Magazine,” she talks about how she will never settle like that again, even though she adapted with a, “Love that had one foot out of the door and one foot in.” Just like a ghost, both people stayed in the relationship while watching each other fade. The track incorporates the band’s sound with the building of harmonies and explosive bridge, which I believe makes it a fan favorite.
“whywhywhy” is one of Misterwives’ lead singles off their pre-release for “SUPERBLOOM,” the mini bloom. The song is an unapologetic post-break up song where Mandy Lee does not shy away from the pain and writes about everything she was going through. “Am I allowed to lay down my smile, and be bitter just for a while?” Lee upholds her need for individuality and the need to do things for herself, regardless of what others think throughout this song.
“alone,” “stories,” “valentine’s day”
The most prevalent theme between these three tracks is the sadness of heartbreak. The track “alone” depicts how tiring a heartbreak is and how it can make you feel small and alone: “Tired of trying alone, I say that I miss you but you’re already gone.” “alone” illustrates the journey of how Lee started to realize that she had to take time for herself to heal. The song “stories” tells the story about how there cannot just be one person that fights to keep the relationship working. The person keeps telling “lullabies, wrapped in lies” to reassure themselves that it is worth all the effort to stay in the relationship. When the tracklist came out, I was under the impression that “valentine’s day” would be a song of affection and joy. However, after listening, “valentine’s day” was a disheartening track where Mandy Lee calls it quits on the holiday that revolves around love and romance. Nevertheless, the track acknowledges the two sides of a relationship, rather than a track created out of anger.
“over the rainbow,” “it’s my turn”
“over the rainbow” is when the album’s mood starts to shift to themes of grit and overcoming the darkness. As a fan since the band’s debut, I believe this song is the older sister of the track “Imagination Infatuation,” which is on the band’s first album. The track demonstrates the realization that one is not going to get through their dark place of resentment and sadness by just avoiding it, but rather allowing these feelings to exist. Mandy Lee meant to parallel this track with “The Wizard of Oz,” but flip the meaning of it and throw away the facade of being okay. In reality, she felt like she was drowning. “it’s my turn” continues the mindset of “over the rainbow,” where Lee continues to take the time to only worry about herself, rather than conforming to what others around her want. The theme that comes out of this track includes that it is okay to be selfish once in a while.
“find my way home,” “7-2”
“find my way home” is one of Mandy Lee’s favorite songs to play live (pre-pandemic). This track also has parallels to the “Wizard of Oz.” Specifically, the scene where Dorothy and crew enter the dark haunted forest. Dorothy talks about how she does not like the forest and how it’s dark and creepy, to which the scarecrow assures her that it will get darker before it gets lighter. The scene demonstrates the grit needed to overcome the obstacles before you achieve your goal, which is what the track portrays. “7-2” pays homage to the band’s pre-show tradition of playing poker. A 2-7 hand is the worst hand to be dealt in poker. So, “7-2” embodies the concept that sometimes you have to make the best of the bad situation you are facing.
“rock bottom,” “coming up for air”
“rock bottom” encompasses Mandy Lee’s journey and sentiments of when she hit rock bottom after her break up. The track reflects on how you may find yourself unhinged and not knowing a healthy way to cope: “I’m glad I saw this place, now I’m never coming back.” Now that you have seen yourself at rock bottom, you can pull yourself up and never come back. “coming up for air” follows the story after Lee pulled herself up from rock bottom. After she stopped being in denial about her heartbreak, she realized that she did not want her pain to continue leading her life. She sings in this track about how she felt a little bit lighter after coming up for air.
Correlated with the track’s name, “oxygen” feels like a breath of fresh air. Mandy Lee sings about that feeling of taking all the weight off of your shoulders and realizing that after a long time, you are going to be okay and everything will work out. No matter what life throws at you,“Ghosts are floating away.” With this lyric, Lee creates a parallel with an earlier song on the album, “ghost” and how the emotions of the heartbreak are fading away.
“running in place”
With “running in place,” Mandy Lee realizes that when she tried to run away from her trauma and sadness, she did not make any progress: “Avalanche of dreams and now I’m falling.” The more she ran, the more everything snowballed on, eventually catching up to her. The song creates the theme of how you should face your obstacles and let go of all of the pressure and expectations from others. “running in place” marks the end of Mandy Lee’s heartbreak and rough experiences of the world; The next half of the album acts like a shining light during dark times.
“decide to be happy”
“decide to be happy” talks about how happiness is not a constant thing. It comes and goes and you should take advantage of it every time you feel happy. If times are hard, then you have to take action to seek out happiness, rather than waiting for it. When talking about being “happy,” Mandy Lee does not mean smiling from ear to ear, but rather being kind to yourself and going to take a walk or doing something you enjoy. The only thing you can control in this chaotic world is yourself, so you should “decide to be happy.”
“love me true”
“love me true” is one of the tracks on this album that brings an immediate smile to my face when I listen to it. My favorite lyrics include, “Don’t you know you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me?” This track marks the beginning of Mandy Lee’s new relationship after her long journey of healing and moving on from her past relationship’s heartbreak. Misterwives go back to their roots of horns and funky sound that is impossible to not start dancing to. I believe this track is an elevated version of the band’s original sound.
“3 small words,” “muse”
“3 small words” is my all-time favorite track off of this album. It embodies the fears of falling in love after getting emotionally destroyed by it. Lee does a good job at expressing her caution with the lyrics, “[Diving] back into water that [she] barely survived” the first time. My personal favorite lyrics include the chorus where Lee sings, “Three small words are so big when they’re for you.” The song demonstrates Lee’s personal growth and how she is feeling happy and healthy for the first time in a long time. “muse” is another favorite off the album. The playful lyrics and explosive harmonies make the listener feel invited to a new love and a brighter life. Lee is welcoming a new chapter of her life that she would not have if she had not learned to love herself first.
“YOU DESERVE CONGRATULATIONS.” This one lyric encompasses the meaning of the last track of the album. The track is a celebration of the listener and says that you should be proud because you are freeing yourself after realizing that you have gotten through everything. You are going to be okay. This track is a good reminder that you too, like a poppy, can come out on the other side and superbloom.
“SUPERBLOOM” is a great example of what Mandy Lee and the Misterwives do best, by bringing the story to life and having so much fun doing it. Their music is impossible to not dance to. I hope you take a chance to fully listen through this album and to pick out your favorites. Then, continue to dance to them.