5 Seconds of Summer by 5 Seconds of Summer

5 Seconds of Summer has just released their debut US album, and it’s clear that these Aussie musicians will last longer than their name implies. Even though they’ve spent most of 2013 and 2014 opening for the pop boy band One Direction, 5SOS have found time to write and produce their own songs and create their own record label, Hi or Hey Records. Although they accompany a pop band performing around the world, they make it clear with their unique punk rock sound that they are a new face and new force in the music world.

The self-titled album contains their radio singles “She Looks So Perfect” , an upbeat head banging song, as well as “Amnesia”, a slow paced nostalgic love song. While they are completely different in pace and structure, these were definitely the best choices for the radio, in terms of the bands sound and style for their up and coming career. The rock influence is very evident, and the latter was originally written by members of Good Charlotte.

The album also contains songs from their Australian EP released in 2012 exclusively to Australia. These tracks include “Heartbreak Girl”, “Good Girls (Are Bad Girls)”, “Beside You” and “Voodoo Doll”. Although longtime fans have known these songs for years, the reception from newcomers has been nothing but positive. “Heartbreak Girl” has been mildly criticized for having lackluster lyrics, with lines like
“And when the phone call finally ends,
You say, ‘I’ll call you tomorrow at 10,’
And I’m stuck in the friend zone again and again”
However, what this song lacks in words, it makes up for in an impressive bass and exciting guitar chords. It’s more of a sing-in-the-shower than anything else, and sometimes that’s more than enough.

Charming and talented teenage boys are bound to churn out hit after hit, and this is evident in their songs “Don’t Stop” and “Kiss Me Kiss Me”, two party songs with dance-centric themes. Though neither are truly stand out performance pieces, they both offer a simplistic punk sound that would make any Blink-182 fan feel pride.

5SOS are made of four teenage rock stars, so some cheekiness is bound to come out, like in the track “Mrs. All American” that is the modern equivalent to Stacy’s Mom. It’s playful and fun, but also a bit more pop than their other songs. This song is only available to US fans, and UK fans will instead get “English Love Affair”, an equally scandalous song about a weird and wild one night stand.

“Long Way Home” and “Everything I Didn’t Say” stray a bit from the hardcore punk this band leans to, and instead breaks the album up with softer melodies and angsty, love lorn lyrics.

“Now we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere
Yeah, you know we took our time to get there
We’re hiding out in a dream
Catching fire like kerosene”
-Long Way Home
The musicians make these tracks almost heartbreaking. They make nice transitional pieces, and excellent filler music, but it’s also clear that neither will become singles.

Some fan favorites have become “18” and “End Up Here”. The earlier is the epitome of punk. A hot girl, a young guy, and life just isn’t fair when you’re not old enough to do anything. It’s a genuinely funny song with less hysterical guitar chords and impressive sing along quality. The latter is a true showcase of vocals for this band. The girl in the Cobain shirt seems like a force to be reckoned with (is she also wearing American Apparel underwear?) and also seems to be the manic pixie dream girl of music, perhaps leading to the writing of “Outta My Limit”.

“Never Be” cleans up the album with a chilled and relaxed vibe that pulls at nostalgic heart strings. Maybe they’re trying to inspire YOLO in their fans, but the message of this songs rings true to all listeners.
“We’ll never be as young as we are now,
it’s time to leave this old black and white town
Let’s seize the day, let’s run away
Don’t let the colors fade to gray”
It’s a solid piece of music that does not get nearly enough credit on the album. It’s got all the key aspects of a hit song.

In total, the album isn’t a complete need, but definitive want. Besides maybe half the songs, but some don’t need to take up space on your iPod. While good looking and certainly talented artists, they attempt to fill a punk hole left by the 90s and also conform the the bubblegum pop radio of 2000s. It’s a difficult task for any band. Are 5 Seconds of Summer going to make history like their pals 1D? Will they inspire a generation like their influence Green Day? Probably neither, but they’re going to be truly excellent while trying. I can’t wait to see what they have next.

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