By Monique Contreras
5 Seconds of Summer is an Australian pop rock band from Sydney, New South Wales, formed in 2011. 5 Seconds of Summer, also known as 5SOS, consists of four band members. The first member is Luke Hemmings, who is the lead guitarist and lead vocalist in the band. Luke Hemmings also switches to piano, depending on the song being sung. The second member is Calum Hood, who plays the bass guitar and is another vocalist. The third member of 5 Seconds of Summer is Michael Clifford. Michael Clifford is also a lead guitarist, a vocalist, and occasionally a keyboard player. The final member of the band is Ashton Irwin, the drummer and also a vocalist in the band.
5 Seconds of Summer formed in 2011 when Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, and Calum Hood, all of whom attended Norwest Christian College, started posting videos of themselves performing covers of popular songs together on Hemmings’ YouTube channel. In December 2011, they were joined by drummer Ashton Irwin.
The band became YouTube celebrities during 2011 and early 2012. They rose to international fame while touring with One Direction’s Take Me Home Tour.
5 Seconds of Summer has released a total of three albums since their humble beginning. On two of their albums, the band’s sound is based on a whining, punk, almost-90s feel that helps them promote a “we’re young and we don’t care” message that fans seem to love. On the other albums, it is the same set of songs, but a live version of them.
Their first album, “She Looks So Perfect (B-Sides & Rarities),” was released on June 27, 2014. The album consists of upbeat songs directed toward a young audience. The second album is “LiveSOS,” which was released on Dec. 15, 2014. LiveSOS is an album made for fans who could not make it to their concert. It consists of the band singing songs from the first album while they were in concert. In the songs on the album, one can hear the fans singing along and the band interacting with the fans. Finally, their most recently released album is called “Sounds Good Feels Good,” which was released on Oct. 23, 2015.
5 Seconds of Summer is planning to release a fourth album in 2018, although a date has not been confirmed. They have said that this upcoming album will be different than their previous albums; their goal is to make it better and create a new sound.
5 Seconds of Summer’s second album, “Sounds Good Feels Good,” received different reactions because the album consists of upbeat, “rock out” songs. However, it also talks about topics that people don’t really discuss, such as mental health and suicide. The band wanted to create a safe space for people who are battling with depression and contemplating suicide.
The band attempted to establish a neutral ground for fans to talk about mental health without fear of judgment. The album achieves this purpose because they have specific songs that talk about how people might be feeling at home or with themselves. With this album the band tries to show that although it might be tough, fans are not the only people battling with such problems.
The album was also written as a way for the band themselves to work through their own personal issues and to be given a chance to grow up and learn more. From there, the band worked together to make an album for their fans.
Compared to their first album, “Sounds Good Feels Good” has more mature lyrics. Their first album included a lot of cliched lines and songs as well. For example, their hit from the first album is called “She Looks So Perfect.” In this song, the band talks about American Apparel underwear. The music video seems to be childish as well.
Although “Sounds Good Feels Good” has songs that talk about mental illness or depression, it still manages to have an upbeat sound on certain songs. For example, the first single that was released from the album is called “She’s Kinda Hot.” It was released on July 17, 2015. “She’s Kinda Hot” is 5 Seconds of Summer’s grunge-inspired pop anthem made to celebrate being different and liking being different.
In the music video, the band later talked about the meaning of the song and their opinion about “She’s Kinda Hot.”
“The title is really misleading, because the song is about people not caring of what others think, it’s a revolution for outcasts. It has a deep meaning,” Calum Hood, the bassist shared.
“The song is heavy as hell, heavier than our previous songs. We were shocked, but happy with the reviews,” Michael Clifford, the guitarist, expressed.
In the chorus, 5 Seconds of Summer sings, “They say we’re losers, and we’re alright with that.” The band gains its identity from the fact that it’s full of people who others see as losers. The band wants to celebrate its own “loser” status in an effort to gather everyone else who wants to share the same label.
In an interview with BBC Radio, Michael Clifford said, “I think the song’s got a really cool message. It’s like, ‘Yeah we’re screwed up kids, but we’re going to be okay.'”
Another upbeat song on the album is the second single, called “Hey Everybody!,” which was released on Sept. 14, 2015. The song contains elements from the 80s hit “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran, who were given a writing credit on the song.
“Hey Everybody!” talks about how it’s okay to have a “9-5 job” – that you will still make a living out of it. 5SOS wanted people who are going through this obstacle to know having financial issues is not the end of the world; you can get out of this; we’ve all at one point or another been down financially, so now’s your time to get up and do something. Their message is: Don’t sit around and wait for a miracle to happen; if you want some money and want a change go out out there, do something; then you’ll start getting paid, and the worries will be gone.
Their third single from “Sounds Good Feels Good” is called “Jet Black Heart,” which was released on Dec. 17, 2015. This song talks about mental health and depression.
The opening scenes of the music video as well as the description of the video says, “We asked our fans to help make this video. We wanted to hear your stories. We were overwhelmed by the response. This video goes out to you. ‘Jet Black Heart.’ ”
“Jet Black Heart” is easily a fan favorite because it describes what many people are afraid to talk about, like feeling sad or alone. The way this video was carefully put together shows that it was definitely for the fans.
The most crushing part of the video, aside from seeing all the emotion in the fans’ eyes as they sing the lyrics straight to the camera, was seeing 5SOS member Michael Clifford crying in one scene. Although the song and video is meant to have you feeling emotional, by the end of the song you feel uplifted knowing that you’re not alone. You feel uplifted because by the end of the video you know the boys as well, and the 5SOS Family will always be there for you.
“Sounds Good Feels Good” is similar to its first album because it still has cheesy lyrics in its second album and cliched themes. For example, in “She’s Kinda Hot” the lyric, “When you’ve got bigger plans that no one else understands, you’ve got a shot though,” seems to be cliche because this saying is always told to people if they are trying something new and no one is supporting them. This lyrics says that it’s okay to be a misfit. It’s okay to do things your own way. Following your passion — whatever it may be — isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Another lyric that may be childish is from “Permanent Vacation.” The start of the chorus starts, “Hey I’m doing fine, and I know I’m out of line. So let’s sing this one more time.” This is the kind of lyric adults might roll their eyes at, but it carries such a strong spirit of rebellion that’s too perfect to resist. Having a “normal,” conventional life is totally fine — it works for some people, and that’s great. But others need to live more freely and recklessly.
Although, their second album has some childish lyrics and cliched themes, it has improved greatly from their last album. Because they open up about mental health and depression, this album gives fans the ability to relate to it while enjoying upbeat songs.
Featured image (at the topic of this post): The band takes a picture before getting ready to perform PHOTO CREDIT: Wikipedia