After two years, Australian pop-punk band 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) have released their newest, and most mature album yet.
The band received world wide recognition in 2013 after opening for One Direction on their world tour. Specifically because they were “different” from the tour’s headliners, who, at the time, were the most popular boy band in the world.
They were praised for being a healthy blend of both pop and alternative genres of music, playing their own instruments, and citing pop-punk bands such as All Time Low as their major influences.
5SOS was something the mainstream media hadn’t seen in years – which appealed to both pop and alternative music enthusiasts. Seemingly overnight, they became popular among both communities, and the rest is history.
However, similar to how a teenager changes during their several “awkward phases,” before reaching adulthood, 5SOS seems to have finally found their true sound.
“C A L M,” which is an acronym using the first letters of each members’ name, is the band’s fourth studio album since forming in 2011.
Frontman and lead vocalist Luke Hemmings, along with Calum Hood (bass), Michael Clifford (lead guitar), and Ashton Irwin (drums) took the opportunity to usher in a new era for the band.
And, they are no longer the edgy teenage boys who sang about American Apparel underwear.
The album itself, compared to their first three, is a completely different sound – which is what makes this album so good. It has a certain sense of maturity and self-reflection their previous albums lacked.
The lyricism on “C A L M” is also some of their greatest work yet. They take a new perspective on romantic relationships, their relationships with themselves, and their relationships with society.
The third track, “Old Me,” is one of the songs on the album that acknowledges the band’s evolution the most.
The songs intro, “Shout out to the old me and everything you showed me / glad you didn’t listen when the world was trying to slow me,” is the band’s way of reflecting on their earlier years, when they were not as well known, and they are thanking their younger selves for not giving up on their dream.
The track “No Shame,” highlights the stress stardom has put them through over the years, as well as the pressure they are faced with by being such prominent figures, “I only light up when cameras are flashing / never enough and no satisfaction,” as Hemmings introduces the chorus.
The album also uses this opportunity to showcase Hemmings’ wide vocal range. Tracks on the album like “Teeth” and “Easier,” feature Hemmings hitting extremely high notes, which is different from their earlier records.
In previous records, it seemed as if Hemmings was forcing himself to project his voice, at times sounding like he was screaming just to reach a note.
There is none of that on this album. Hemmings seems to have finally found his voice, and the band has found their momentum.
Hemmings also takes a back seat by letting Hood take over vocals in “Wildflower,” an upbeat track which uses instruments to censor seemingly profane and sexual words.
This is the only track on the record where another member of the band is a featured vocalist, unlike their previous albums where they shared the mic.
Despite the changes the group has made between their previous albums and “C A L M,” this new era for the band does not mean they have lost sight of where they came from.
In an interview with Billboard, Hood said, “The spirit of pop-punk is always reverberated within the spirit of this band, which is kind of not to give a f***,” and said the album is “the best representation of who we are, not just as artists, but as people.”
5 Seconds of Summer deserves more than 5 minutes of fame.