I never wanted to become a fan of 5SOS. I just wanted them to be another One Direction like group that would be popular and then gradually fade away but after they made their American debut, I decided to check them out, and I have yet to stop listening to them. What’s crazy is that they were the same age as the members of One Direction when they became a band and started writing music but unlike One Direction, they had a cohesive awareness of what they wanted to become as artists, even so much as continuing to grow with each album they put out. That’s such a rare quality nowadays even among artists that are popular. They don’t have a sound that is signature to them. Sure, the songs they put out are good and top the charts but 5SOS has such a unique sound as musicians and the lyrics they write are so depth defying that I find it hard to ignore them as a true lover of music.
Calm (stylised as C A L M, an acronym of the first letters of the band members’ names, Calum, Ashton, Luke and Michael)is the fourth studio album by Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer, released on 27 March 2020. Due to a shipping error, around 10,000 copies of the album were released early in the US, subsequently allowing the album to chart a week before it was due.
Prior to the album’s release, the band released a four-track “Relaxation” remix collection via the meditation app, Calm. The collection features each bandmember reimagining a different track off the album in collaboration with producer Matt Pauling: guitarist Michael Clifford on “Easier”, bassist Calum Hood on “Old Me”, drummer Ashton Irwin on “Red Desert”, and guitarist and vocalist Luke Hemmings on “Best Years”.
The band were inspired by a lot of industrial music whilst working on the album, which helped them achieve a “rhythm side” on the songs, and in turn lends to the melodic writing and the melodic process. Drummer Ashton Irwin explained: “As far as sonic inspirations go, we always try to incorporate some of what everyone is actually listening to so it’s a more genuine and influenced record that we can speak on.” The album contains a “lighter” sound in comparison to the band’s previous work. Rhythm guitarist Luke Hemmings said he felt like the last album was “pretty heavy and dark […] Whereas this one has that side of it with the lighter side of life and moving forward rather than being stuck in one place”. The band’s bassist Calum Hood said most of the credit is owed to vocalist Luke Hemmings, whose lyrics, Hood said, “tell the tale of a man who has matured over the years and who has really honed in on his craft”. Hood, however, noted: “I think everyone had something to say with this album, in terms of their coming of age – in really reflecting on the people who we were and how things shaped us, and who we want to become in the future.” He futher described the album as “pretty chaotic at times”.
The album due to it’s early release charted at #62 in the Billboard Hot 200 in it’s first week.
Red Desert: A SONG WITH BIG ROCK GROUP HARMONIES FEATURING VOCALS FROM ALL FOUR MEMBERS, IT IS SET IN THE RED DESERT WHICH IS IN AUSTRALIA. DISCUSSES SOMEONE WHO’S LOVE DIVES DEEP AND HEALS YOUR BLUES.
No Shame: WRITTEN IN ONE TAKE TOGETHER AS A BAND. THIS SONG DISCUSSES BEING A PUBLIC FIGURE OR A MODERN DAY PERSON WITH MOST OF LIFE’S HAPPENINGS SHARED ONLINE, AND HAVING NO SHAME ABOUT BEING COUPLED UP WITH SOMEONE.
OLD ME: PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED IN MY MARCH MUSIC PLAYLIST BUT ONE OF MY FAVORITES OFF THE ALBUM.
That song, lyrically, it’s about owning mistakes and moving forward with your life and understanding that you’re not the person that you were when you were younger, but also you have to do these things and make mistakes to move forward and grow as a person.
CO-WRITTEN WITH RYAN TEDDER, IT’S A DEBATE ABOUT STAYING WITHIN A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP
The song has a hard rock feel, but with a relatively sparse arrangement. 5 Seconds of Summer told Rolling Stone it came about because there has been “a growing attention to industrial rhythm within the band.” They said that the track is “derivative of the driving drum groove” that’s heard on Nine Inch Nail’s track “Closer.” The band added that they were also inspired by dark, synth-heavy groups such as Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears.
TEETH: PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED ON A PLAYLIST POST
I love that song. It has that driving kick and that bass; we tried to make a song without having a snare. It has a few in it, but it’s mainly kick and it’s my breath doing all of the other beats. Tom Morello plays the guitar solo at the end. He’s almost imitating a snare with his guitar.
WILDFLOWER: This is the lighter side of the album. It’s a step forward for us in that it’s not so dark—we can do this big stadium vocal but also have it be a big, positive, euphoric anthem and not be lame.
BEST YEARS: A BEAUTIFUL LOVE NOTE WRITTEN PRIMARILY BY HEMMINGS FOR A PAST LOVER, IT WAS CO-WRITTEN WITH RYAN TEDDER AND FEATURES THE EDGE FROM U2 PLAYING GUITAR ON THE BRIDGE.
NOT IN THE SAME WAY: WRITTEN IN 30 MINUTES, It’s a chaotic love story of the early days in a relationship and trying to figure out your counterpart. THE MUSICALITY HAS AN ELECTRONIC UP AND DOWN SOUND LIKE THE BUILD UP AND THE BLOW UP THEN THE SILENCE IMITATING THE CHAOS OF THE LYRICAL CONTENT.
LOVER OF MINE: Opening with soft yet very prominent piano chords, the listener is pulled right in. This song is about the maturity of the protagonist and realising the past mistakes they have made with their lover. MUSICALLY, IT’S GOT A JEFF BUCKLY VIBE. THE SOFT GUITAR CHORDS ARE SO NICELY DONE THROUGHOUT THE TRACK.
THIN WHITE LIES: USING MUSICALITY THAT MIMICS THE CURE, IT’S AN HONEST SONG ABOUT SELF-REFLECTION AND BECOMING A STRANGER TO YOURSELF.
Lonely Heart: The song’s really beautiful. I like the dancing metaphor in some of the verses. It kind of sounds like Depeche Mode in the chorus, which I like. It’s all pretty New Wave. IT’S GOT A HAUNTING SOUND WITH THE MUSICALITY.
HIGH: THE FIRST SONG WRITTEN FOR THE ALBUM BUT PLANNED AS THE CLOSER, WITH BEATLES-ESQUE MUSICALITY COMES THIS FINAL TRACK ABOUT HOPING A PAST OR EX LOVER THINKS OF YOU HIGHLY.
Overall, 5SOS never disappoint me as a fan of music, as a fan of them as a band, and as a human being. Their music, no matter what it discusses, gives me an overall zen feeling, and instantly makes me calm. This album, ironically, is no exception.