In these times one thing we can all do to pass the time and stay safe is to listen to some new music! Therefore, I wanted to write up a review for a project that I was anticipating and since it is finally here I felt it was right I provide a review of some sorts.
The boys of 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) are back with their fourth studio album, “C A L M”. If you never heard of the band before, they are a pop rock band from Australia consisting of members Calum Hood (bass, vocals, synthesizers), Ashton Irwin (drums, vocals, percussion), Luke Hemmings (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), and Michael Clifford (lead guitar, vocals). As you can tell CALM is an acronym for the first initial of each band member’s name. This was also a name given to them by fans earlier on, however, as they matured they felt it was more appropriate now.
This is a followup to their previously released album, Youngblood, which was their first project released after 3 years. Youngblood was more of a mature sound for the band and personal to them, which is what I really gravitated towards. I actually started listening to them as soon as Youngblood was released which I considered to be a banger back when I did #FreshMusicFridays , fast forward a couple months and it did become one of the biggest songs of the year. I also liked that album because it featured so many different styles and experimentation on it which is why I said it was the best album in my opinion in 2018.
When promoting Youngblood, the album, Michael mentioned that 5 Seconds of Summer can be considered as “the biggest band, you never heard of”. Truthfully, I agree because there are so many people discovering them now even though they have had global commercial success for the last couple of years. Therefore, this is album is a great time to discover them as you can listen below with my thoughts on each track below.
1. Red Desert
Talk about an intro! To me, this is the most cinematic song 5SOS has delivered it is epic and I can definitely see this in a movie or in a movie trailer. Nonetheless, this was a great choice to be the intro for the album because it is a strong opening and showcases their harmony skills as vocalists and how well they can play their instruments as musicians. They mentioned that the harmony part was inspired by the cover they did of Queen’s Killer Queen as they realized more about what else they can do to showcase all the members’ vocal abilities.
2. No Shame
This song and video gives me some late 90s early 2000s pop rock/pop punk rock vibes to it. The song is pretty slow tempo with some heavy content surrounding how people in society act in front of the camera, or better yet for the camera, and how they really act. Although, I like the content the song is not one of my favourites I did how nostalgic but different the video was.
3. Old Me
Here is my pick for the best song of the album. When the song first dropped I liked it, but after the second listen it has been on repeat non-stop! Besides being a catchy and easy song to sing along to, I love the fact that it’s about self-reflection and growth. I was really happy with the video as well, in my opinion, my favourite video of theirs, and was directed by the same director for “No Shame”, Hannah Lux Davis.
There are so many references in this one video so if you are not too familiar with the band, you can learn a lot about them just by this one video from Calum choosing the band over a path to a professional soccer career to the One Direction shoutout as they helped launch their careers.
This project is filled with different collaborators and this one featured two giant ones, Charlie Puth and Ryan Tedder. You can definitely hear a style similar to Charlie Puth on here but not to get confused, this is very much a 5SOS song and a good one for that matter. In terms of the music video, there is another nostalgic aesthetic to it reminding me of older music videos, just like their video for No Shame.
They also released a different version, Live from the vault, which I absolutely love.
The drums come in heavy on this record and the energy starts right in the beginning. This is a song that can definitely get you pumped up (almost like a fight song) and leans more towards their edgier side and their music video definitely gives that vibe. Fun Fact: This song features Tom Morello on the guitar as well and was featured on the 3rd season of 13 Reasons Why.
They also did a “Live from the Vault” version for this record as well. In my opinion, I feel like both versions are pretty much identical but a live performance is always great.
Changing up the style and mood with this one, track number 6 is definitely a fun record with an impressive visual to support it. Besides their harmonizing skills on display, I can definitely see this record getting a lot of plays in the summertime due to the perfect mixing of all the instruments, especially the drums making this a fun and chill record.
7. Best Years
I’ll admit that you will find more uptempo songs by 5SOS than slow in my library, but this is definitely something that has been added. A slow ballad that featured collaborative efforts from Ryan Tedder (of One Republic) and even Edge (from U2) playing guitar on the bridge. I love that even in the lyrics and execution, you can tell this was a heartfelt note but there is continuation from previous songs eg. “My past love burned out like a cigarette I promise darling you won’t regret”.
8. Not In The Same Way
This record definitely speeds it up and talks about the early stage in an attraction/relationship. Although this topic might not be fun to think about especially if you have gone through it, the tempo and the way this song has been put together make it fun to sing along to. Speaking about speed, this song apparently came together in only 30 minutes!
9. Lover of Mine
Lover of Mine definitely slows it down again but wow, can we talk about the guitars!? The strumming and build-up to the chorus are beautifully done allowing the listener to experience a roller coaster of different emotions.
10. Thin White Lies
It’s funny as I am writing this I think of how just like the previous track, it focuses heavily on the guitars that build anticipation for solid chorus, yet it sounds so different. I love the rhythm and how the lyrics seem to talk about a struggling relationship with a partner yet also sounds very self-reflecting.
11. Lonely Heart
My favourite takeaway from this song is the bridge where all four of them sing together. The track, as the title indicates, talks about a lonely heart but with everything going on in this one song I doubt you will feel that way. What is also interesting is that it starts off super slow but after the first verse it almost feels like an entirely new song.
If I am being honest, I was disappointed to hear this song placed at the end as it was a bit disappointing to hear to conclude the album. It’s not a bad song, personally, I am not a big fan of this and although they probably wanted to end off the album on a slower, calm, note, this just didn’t feel right. However, that is just my preference. Luke Hemmings actually loves that it is the way the album ended because he says “Songwriting in itself is very selfish, and this song, in particular, the lyric [‘I hope you think of me high/I hope you think of me highly’] is very clever and very self-involved. ”
All in all, this was such a good album. This was a great follow up to Youngblood and love that the band is continuing to grow and progress throughout these projects and records. It is hard for me to say right now which album I prefer more of but I think this is a good listen to anyone who loves music because there are some great songwriting, instrumentals, and themes featured all in one album. I love the overall storytelling that the album shares while the members sharing some of their stories through this album. I am curious about the different versions of Red Desert, Easier, Old Me, and Best Years they did for Calm, the meditation/relaxation app.
The only thing I didn’t like was that High was at the end but that is just for my own preference. I do respect the artistic decision to put it at the end and maybe after more listens I will agree or maybe I will have the same opinion. Nonetheless, this was solid work from 5SOS and easily a 9/10 in my books.
I am curious to know what you all think. Let me know in the comments below. What is your favourite song? What do agree with or disagree with?
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