An Album a Day: 5 Seconds of Summer

January 22, 5 Seconds of Summer by 5 Seconds of Summer

Genre: Pop punk
Year: 2014
Runtime: 39:25
Total tracks: 12
Songs you might know:
– “She Looks So Perfect”
– “Don’t Stop”
– “Good Girls”
– “Amnesia”

My prior relationship with this album: I was first introduced to 5 Seconds of Summer when they were announced as an opening act for a One Direction, but it still took me a little while after that to listen to this whole album. I remember it being pretty straight forward pop punk, reminiscent of All Time Low. In fact, All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth helped write some of these songs, and the Madden twins of Good Charlotte also made a contribution. Any reputation they have as a pop act was only because of their touring with 1D, not their actual sound.

My impressions this time around: This is a fun album. I would even go so far as to say I forgot how much fun it was. While there’s definitely some lyrics I find problematic, and none of these lyrics are overly fresh or original, I oftentimes found myself singing along anyway. There’s something about this that just brings me back to my teen years, and it’s interesting how a relatively young album still had a huge nostalgia factor for me. One of the big pieces to that puzzle is the production of John Feldmann, who has worked with All Time Low, Good Charlotte, Panic! at the Disco, and many other ’00s bands you’ve probably heard of if you were into the pop punk scene at its peak. Once I saw his name on the credits for this album I was like “oh, well that makes a lot of sense.”

Most of the songs here are rather simplistic. Drums and heavy guitar. There is a girl that is the object of the singer’s romantic and/or sexual desires. She has either broken his heart or made all his dreams come true. This is not an album that even tries to reinvent the wheel or throw any curveballs at you, and I suppose there is a certain charm in that fact. I fully recognize that 5 Seconds of Summer is about as derivative as it gets, but it’s deriving from so many other artists who 1) I quite enjoy and 2) were plenty derivative in their own right and so can I even get mad about it?

What’s perhaps a bit of a disappointment here is the lack of variety. Pretty much every song here is scratching the same angsty pop punk itch. However, we get a glimpse of brilliance with the final track, “Amnesia,” co-written by the Madden twins of Good Charlotte. This is a hard hitting emotional ballad that swaps four chords on an electric guitar for a nice melodic accompaniment on an acoustic guitar (and brings in chords later). The more stripped down sound demonstrates that 5sos has depth and versatility, and I wish there had been other tracks like this one to break up the rest of the album.

Who would enjoy it? People who liked the pop punk of the mid ’00s that aren’t going to be overly put off by a younger copycat act.

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