The Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer have taken the world by storm since their worldwide debut single She Looks So Perfect became a smash around the globe earlier this year. The band consists of four members: Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin. Since coming to fame, these guys have been inundated with claims that they are the next One Direction; these were increased when 5 Seconds of Summer supported the british boy band phenomenon on their Australian tour in 2012. 5 Seconds of Summer have stated that those calling them a boy band have the wrong idea, and prefer to think of themselves as just a general band. Considering that all members of the band play instruments, I’d have to agree with them; a boy band usually describes a collection of guys who sing but don’t play instruments (at least, not as part of their music career).
The hit She Looks So Perfect was a great song to release as the lead single for the this self-titled debut album, because its infectious pop-punk sound represents what 5 Seconds of Summer is about. You could be forgiven for thinking of them as a boy band merely because of the topics of their songs: they’re all the typical boy meets girl or boy loses girl story. Lyrics on this subject matter are often cliche, and this album is no exception, but the step away from general pop and electronic dance music is sure to win over more fans. The punk rock genre infused with pop gives their music a bit more edge; some of the guitar riffs in the tracks, both electric and bass, are fantastic and become the highlight of the songs.
Don’t Stop, Good Girls, Kiss Me Kiss Me and 18 all follow in the same vein of She Looks So Perfect; whilst this gives a nice consistency, the songs are a little too similar – right down to their structures – and could have benefitted from a bit more variety. Good Girls melody within the verses is reminiscent of early 2000s hit Stacey’s Mom, but the track has a lot of repetition which becomes annoying. Kiss Me Kiss Me has a catchy melody, but has some difficulties in the transitions between the chorus and verses, and the random synth beat introduced towards the ends. This track also feels like it should have had the title of ‘here’s to teenage memories’ instead of the One Direction-like Kiss Me Kiss Me. 18 features some of the best lyrics on the album; a cheeky pop culture reference to Charlie Sheen induces laughs, whilst sexier lyrics remind us that these guys are growing out of their adolescent phase.
Everything I Didn’t Say, whilst having simpler and more pop vibe, is a little too cliche and is pretty forgettable. Beside You may entice you to sing along, but its mid tempo feel makes the chorus too long and drawn out. End Up Here showcases some fantastic instrumentals, but in the chorus the vocals seem to be just yelling rather singing, which is a shame as the vocals throughout the album are quite good. Two highlights on the album are end songs Heartbreak Girl and Amnesia. Heartbreak Girl tells a story of a guy who’s been “friend-zoned”, and this catchy melody reminds audiences of the great tunes they heard earlier. Amnesia is the only ballad on the album, gifted to 5 Seconds of Summer by their good friends the Madden Brothers. This strong pop ballad has all the makings of a hit; however it should have been placed in the middle of the tracklisting rather than near the end, to break up some of the heavier pop-punk songs.
5 Seconds of Summer deliver a solid debut with their self-titled album, especially considering they had a hand in writing every song. Fantastic vocals and brilliant instrumental melodies are evident throughout the entire album and the boys seem to have a clear idea of what sort of image and band they want to represent. Yet to continue to stay on top of the music scene, 5 Seconds of Summer will have to continue to dodge One Direction comparisons, and to attempt a bit more originality within their music to really stand out and win over new fans (that aren’t just screaming teenage girls).