Photo Credit: Andy DeLuca
From what it appears from interviews with the band, 5 Seconds of Summer is all about having a good time. Like, for instance, playing video games with your friends at your “creative retreat” in Joshua Tree while being amazed about just how clever it was to name their fifth album 5SOS5. Do you see it? It’s a palindrome—freaking brilliant. This search for the bare necessities has been working quite well for the pop rock band formed in Sydney, Australia back in 2011. Their 2014 hit single “She Looks So Perfect” topped the charts all over the world, and with later hits such as “Youngblood” and “Who Do You Love,” they have established themselves as one of the biggest pop rock bands and a great festival act.
Almost entirely self-produced, their new album is probably the most remarkable thing they’ve ever done. The songs are not so bloated and over-produced as their early work, and the plastic punk rock attributes of their early career are entirely gone by now, handed over to a younger generation. The opening two tracks confirm this early on, the infectious “Easy for You to Say” deserving to be a way bigger hit than it is. “Me Myself & I” is a little generic, but it will work excellently live in front of a huge festival crowd.
The rest mostly consist of catchy but forgettable tunes so streamlined and accessible that everyone in the car can vibe along to them throughout an entire road trip. This is the kind of album you put on when you’re asking your friends what to put on and they ask you to “just play something, it doesn’t matter.” “Bad Omens,” “Take Me Hand,” “BLENDER,” “and “You Don’t Go to Parties” are better than “Older,” Emotions,” and “Bleach.” Still, it all reminds us that pop music doesn’t have to be revolutionary – or even especially great – in order to be enough.
And that’s kind of it. 5SOS5 is a careful step in the right direction for 5 Seconds of Summer. They have now proven that they can produce an album on their own – like a proper, “real” band – and that their appeal goes beyond the hit singles. To call them exciting would not only be a stretch – it would be a lie – but thanks to their great pop hooks, relatable lyrics, and uncomplicated attitude, they are likely to remain a festival headline for another couple of years. And the best thing is – now they have some material strong enough to make people stay not only because they want to hear the band go out with a hit – but because they’re watching and listening to a well-rounded show.
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