Written by Hollee Workman, Entertainment Reporter
LOS ANGELES, CA — With a career spanning eleven years and acquiring over 20 million monthly listeners on Spotify, it was no surprise that fans of Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer were eagerly awaiting the release of the band’s fifth studio album, fittingly titled 5SOS5, which hit platforms on September 23, 2022.
Nineteen songs take listeners on a journey just over an hour long. With a variety of tones and stories behind every song, 5SOS5 is almost certainly the band’s most personal album to date.
Lead guitarist Michael Clifford discussed the new album with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, saying “I think this album for us has been the first album that we’ve made without having any kind of [plan] … We didn’t plan to make it.”
Perhaps the concept of just going in blindly worked for the better, as there has been a surge in the band’s streams and several positive reviews for 5SOS5.
The album opens up with the dreamy COMPLETE MESS. With a variety of interesting uses of instrumentals and deep lyrics, this has been one of the most popular tracks on the album, garnering over 42 million plays. Several fans online have also claimed this track as their favorite and honestly, after listening to it a few times, it becomes understandable to see why.
The second track Easy For You To Say is another deep, meaningful song. With references to the band’s hometown of Sydney, Australia, and several lyrics that can be read into a mentality hampered by regrets of the past. One of the most impactful lyrics is “A youth that was stolen and filled with mistakes / I turned all around, looked for someone to blame / But I’m overdramatic and drenched in my pain.” This is a line several listeners can relate to for a variety of reasons.
Bad Omens follows as the third song on the album. It is a very interesting track. With such an up tempo sound, it is quite the surprise when you dig into the meaning of the song, an ode to love that will never be yours. Bad Omens tells the story of being in love with someone who will not love you back and is in love with someone else. This is probably a scenario that more often than not, several people have experienced, though many would never admit to it.
Me, Myself, and I seems to be the perfect track to come after Bad Omens. Though this song has some strong language, it is a deep and personal song. This song acknowledges the side of people that nobody cares to admit to, the selfish cycle of independence. Not the surface level independence, but the beliefs that you are the only person who can take care of you and that nobody else is able or worth the time to try to let in and rely on. Despite the relatability of the track, this one was not quite my favorite.
One of the most introspective tracks that the band has released comes right after. Take My Hand is a total 180 from selfish independence showcased in Me, Myself and I. Take My Hand is a reflection of the past eleven years in the industry that 5 Seconds of Summer has given listeners. A beautifully written and performed thank you note to fans, whether they have been here from the beginning or just started to listen. Despite being one of the least streamed songs on the album, it is worth the listen and dare I say, my favorite track not just on the album, but to ever be released by 5 Seconds of Summer.
CAROUSEL is one of those tracks you need to listen to more than once before you like it. Drummer Ashton Irwin best described this song in an interview with the Solo of House magazine. Irwin said, “It really has interesting coloring [on] this record and it has kind of that obscure musical influence, which is what is making it fruitful in the soul to be a part of this band, because it’s very multifaceted.” CAROUSEL has its own unique sound that somehow fits the story behind the song.
If you want a song to pull at your heart, look no further than track number seven. Older is not a sad song, but it sure is emotional. A story of being so deeply in love you do not want a life without that partner, whether it is a best friend or a lover. Older is a beautiful, relaxing track that was beautifully woven together by 5 Seconds of Summer and collaborator Sierra Deaton.
HAZE is the type of song you would hear at a party. With a good rhythm, nice beats and such a casual storyline, this is the type of track you would see in a coming of age young adult film. HAZE has such a unique sound that words cannot even begin to describe the feelings of euphoria I experienced listening to it for the very first time, and consistently feel whenever it comes on the rotation.
In all honesty, You Don’t Go To Parties is one of my least favorite tracks. The lyrics and the beat seem out of place with each other, the lyrics are not quite as good as the tracks so far. Now, of course, that does not mean it is a bad song. There is great underlying composition, and the lyrics themselves seem to have a story waiting to be told, but the pairing simply did not do each other much justice.
Despite the disharmony of You Don’t Go To Parties, the following track somehow blends a hyped up production with a deep storyline in a great way. The storyline in BLENDER fits so well with the electro-pop beat. BLENDER, as backup vocalist and bassist Calum Hood told MTV Brazil, excellently begins to “capture the in-betweens of what it is to be like in a relationship that can have a negative personal effect on you.” Somehow the fast paced music fits the sensation of having so many negative things buzzing in your head and creates a perfect blend.
Caramel unfortunately is one of those songs that no matter how many times I listen, it is just not my favorite. It is not bad, not at all. In fact, the drums and guitar are paired beautifully in this track. There is simply too much going on in the lyrics that I can not quite navigate the meaning behind the lyrics. It gives me the vibes of simply passing time and having fun, but nothing more than that. Still a great song, just a rather surface level one.
While Best Friends has some of the lowest streaming rates of the album, it does not take away from how good the song is. Expletives aside, it is one of those songs that is almost like a diamond in the rough. It is not 5SOS’s best, but the story of appreciation of friendship and those people who you call your best friends puts together a wonderful song. This is absolutely one of those songs you would put on to take a daytrip with a few friends, windows down and just having a good time with each other.
Despite the strange title, Bleach is quite possibly one of the most beautiful tracks on the album. Bleach left me completely speechless from beginning to end. A song about mourning the loss of someone, but not in a concept of death it does not seem, but something along the lines of a painful breakup or drifting apart. With a relaxing melody, and 5 Seconds of Summer toning down their voices into a much softer melody, Bleach surely takes my breath away and definitely deserves more recognition.
Red Line comes close to the beauty of Bleach. A beautiful story of thinking of someone , wonderful lyrics and a beautiful backing track, there is truly so much worth admiring in the fourteenth track.
Moodswings. The instrumentals are great,but the most shockingly beautiful thing is actually the lyrics. Telling a story of mental health in a variety of ways, Moodswings is one of those songs you would not expect to cry to but if you have ever experienced the effects of mental health, it will surely hit you. With callbacks to their old music, Moodswings also shows us a side of maturity and awareness experienced by the members of 5SOS in an overwhelmingly personal way. This song contains strong language, but I believe the use of such really emphasizes the meanings of the lyrics.
I was not sure what I was expecting seeing a track called Flatline, especially after Moodswings. But somehow, this was pleasantly not it. Despite the grim title, Flatline is actually a wonderful track about falling in love. There is a very pop sound to it, something that sets it apart from most of the album. It is a wonderfully composed song, and with closer listening, there is definitely a beautiful story to be told within the track.
Emotions is another really good song looking at mental health. Though it has a different tone, Emotions still tells a wonderful story about the effects of mental health. “I’m doin’ my best and I guess that’s the best I can do” is one of the most powerful lyrics in the track for its relatability, but the song really is quite emotional and ultimately quite beautiful.
Bloodhound is a pretty good song too. Definitely not my favorite, not by far, but it is not a bad song. It has themes of kicking back, going for a drive on a nice day, hanging with friends at the park, generally along the lines of light and fun. I have not picked up on any real story behind the lyrics, but not every good song needs to have a story.
Closing out the album is TEARS!. Despite the slightly upper, brighter delivery of the song, there is a dark beauty to the lyrics. With lyrics like “Sad, but what can I do? / Burn the world to start over” and “I’ll feel better when I let myself sink deeper / I’ll feel better when I let myself see clearer”, this track has a strong theme of angst. It is a great song overall and a good way to end the album.
Overall, 5SOS5 is an excellently assembled album, with such a wide range of tracks there is something for everyone.
*Note: this article expresses the ideas and opinions of the author and are not a reflection of the views of the Triangle or Bryan College as a whole.
Hollee Workman is a junior communications major at Bryan College with dreams to become an entertainment reporter and to travel the world. Besides journalistic writing, Hollee is a creative writer working on her third novella I Think I’m Lost Again among other creative projects