Campus Beat Reporter
Since Dec. 3, 2011, the Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) has taken the world by storm. Their first three albums, 5 Seconds of Summer, Sounds Good Feels Good and Youngblood have all significantly deviated from the last in terms of sound and overall feeling. On March 27, their fourth album CALM has graced the music world.
This name has two meanings. It symbolizes the mellow feeling that calmness brings, while also serving as an acronym for the band’s first names: Calum (Hood), Ashton (Irwin), Luke (Hemmings) and Michael (Clifford).
When 5SOS first gained fame in the music world, lots of fans assumed they would be the typical boy band that have mostly female following, as many bands are criticized for. Over the years, however, the guys have slowly deviated from this pop band label and now are recognized as pop rock artists.
On March 26, 5SOS hosted a virtual album listening party for those in any country to hear. Complete with internet connectivity issues, choice of clothing including band-licensed bucket hats, and plenty of pets to go around, this listening party showcased the band’s unique personalities and sound.
Before the official release, five songs from the album, “Easier,” “Teeth,” “No Shame,” and “Old Me,” and “Wildflower” were released as singles. “Easier” became an automatic chart-topper and was #79 on Billboard’s list of Top 100 Songs of 2019. “Teeth,” included on the soundtrack for the third season of “13 Reasons Why,” is an exploration of an industrial pop sound that “Easier” tried and successfully matched.
The first third of the album (there are twelve songs total) includes the new song “Red Desert” as well as previously mentioned singles “No Shame,” “Old Me,” and “Easier.” “Red Desert” seeks to expand the band’s diversity as a group, drawing on the concept of rock harmonies in “more of an Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash way.”
“Old Me” is essentially what it sounds in the name and narrates a coming-of-age process that allows a person to reach their potential without being barred by their childhood. The music video, released on March 10, features the band as younger versions of themselves. Given that the guys were thrust into fame at a young age, hearing about their journey as a group was special and left fans with a sense of nostalgia.
The next four songs are “Teeth,” “Wildflower,” “Best Years,” and “Not In The Same Way.” “Wildflower” is reminiscent of ’80s pop music similar to what most of our parents listen to. “Best Years” is a slow love song, promising to an unnamed lover to provide all the love there is to offer. “Not In The Same Way” laments a one-sided relationship with not much more to offer than sex and arguments.
The final four songs of the “too short” album, “Lover of Mine,” “Thin White Lies,” “Lonely Heart,” and “High” share a common theme of the love song that the band has tried to attempt in previous albums. This time is different since Hemmings is in a relationship with singer Sierra Deaton and Clifford is engaged to his longtime girlfriend Crystal Leigh. The type of love song, though, almost makes those who have never been in a relationship feel like they have experienced love at one point or another.
Overall, the unique sound of this album is a far cry from anything 5SOS has put out in the past. Not only is every song vastly different, but the album also definitely pushes their limits as a band more than before while simultaneously proving that they are not the same “pop boy band” many fans/haters labeled them before. It is easily the most interesting album the band has released.
“[We were] just trying to create the best [music] we could create and to do that in a way that is honest to ourselves and honest to the people who supported us and our families,” Hood explained in an interview with ABC News Radio.
To hear the new album, stream it on YouTube, Amazon, Spotify, or Apple Music. The group will also be embarking on a world tour (dates subject to change) and will be visiting local cities Irvine and Concord in September with The Band Camino as their opening act.
Author’s Recommended Songs: Everything! No, I shouldn’t. “Red Desert,” “Teeth,” and “Lover of Mine.”