With their smash hit single “She Looks So Perfect” taking over the radio airplays, their schoolboy rebel cuteness winning over the hearts of fangirls everywhere, and even impressing Alternative Press magazine so much that they managed to land a spot on the cover, 5 Seconds of Summer is quite literally the hottest band of the summer. Sure, there’s been some backlash as to why they’re considered to be “pop-punk” when they’re riding on the fan base of One Direction‘s (especially after touring with them), but there’s actually a lot more to 5SoS than meets the eye.
Ironically, 5Sos got their start covering songs from the kings of pop-punk Blink-182, along with All Time Low and Mayday Parade (who they’ve stated as some of their influences along with Boys Like Girls, A Day to Remember, and Green Day). Their music certainly has essences of these bands weaved into their album, as well as other favorites like The Summer Set (“Don’t Stop” and “Everything I Didn’t Say”) and Fall Out Boy (bonus track “Social Casualty”) There’s a bit of Ed Sheeran in their lovey dovey songs “Beside You” and “Never Be”, and they delve into the theme of falling for an older woman in “18” (in which lead singer Luke Hemmings practically rushes to get a fake I.D.) and in “Mrs. All American” (pretty much their version of “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne)
The boys of 5 Seconds of Summer enlisted some pop-punk favorites to help them in the songwriting process, which included Boys Like Girls frontman-turned-hit making songwriter Martin Johnson, Good Charlotte‘s Joel and Benji Madden and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low. Johnson’s tracks unfortunately didn’t make the final cut, but maybe they’ll be incorporated on the next album. The Madden Twins (who also inspired the band to pick up instruments in their younger days) co-wrote the acoustic-y, emotional track about wanting to forget about the heartbreak being felt from watching the love of your life move on -“Amnesia.” Gaskarth had the most prominent songwriting role with a whopping three co-written songs in the form of “Kiss Me Kiss Me,” “Long Way Home” and “End Up Here (which I will get into more later). Lyrical style aside, other tracks like “Heartbreak Girl” and bonus track “Voodoo Doll” have undenyable All Time Low-esque musicalities to them.
I would be a big fat liar if I said I didn’t jam out to “She Looks So Perfect” in my car, or apartment, or at work (sorry not sorry). But apart from that obvious girl magnet of a song, “Good Girls” and “End Up Here” ultimately take the cake in terms of what to look forward to if/when you listen to the album.
“Good Girls” is a humorous yet still relatively truthful take on the idea that every good girl has a hidden wild side. A storyline is created about a girl who “studies hard in her room” and “lives in that library”…at least that’s what she tells her unsuspecting parents. Ultimately,”she sneaks out the window to meet with her boyfriend” and hangs out with him “in the back of the room where nobody looks”. *gasp* Scandal! Clean, attention-grabbing drums make you want to stomp your feet and clap your hands along with the chorus line of “good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught”.
The Gaskarth-penned “End Up Here” is an energetic whirlwind of upbeat guitars and tastefully half-strained vocals from Hemmings that brings to life the pop-punk version of a story about meeting someone at the most unexpected time. From the very first lines, “you walked in/everyone was asking for your name…”, the listener knows that this is very much a chronicling of a budding romance told from the point of view of the guy, which is refreshing and shows that guys can be total saps too. Multiple references to this girl falling for an average joe, especially in the lines “my friends say I should lock you down/before you figure me out and you run away”, proves that guys are just as (or more) insecure about keeping the dream girl around for the long-run.
Alternative Press brought up something interesting about them in one of their articles, in which they said “the band are being branded as pop-punk, which they are, albeit the poppiest, most radio-friendly form.” While it may be hard to accept that categorization, AP isn’t necessarily wrong about 5 Seconds of Summer. Yes, they have that obvious boy band appeal, but they’re also different in the sense that they play their own instruments instead of opting for cheesy dance moves. However, because they they looked for help in writing their songs there’s that hovering question as to why they keep getting coined as pop-punk.
In an overall sense, 5 Seconds of Summer’s debut album is quite impressive with its utter catchy choruses and peppy guitar riffs strung throughout each song. I can definitely see why there is a bunch of hype about them because they’ve definitely got the potential to bring real instruments back to the radio. They’re a great example of the old time saying of “the younger generation are our future leaders” in the musical aspect and it’ll be interesting to see what happens for them in the future. If Alex Gaskarth can praise them, shouldn’t we be able to do the same?