Story by Nick Erickson, Contributing writer
There’s no avoiding 5 Seconds of Summer, or 5SOS. Ever since the four-piece Australian band blew up last summer, their singles have hit the masses thanks to the help of the radio and Internet. Teenage girls all across the country sport the band’s merchandise, and they even played at the 2015 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. People have waited anxiously for new music since the release of their self-titled album in 2014.
Finally, the boys in 5SOS released their much anticipated sophomore album, “Sounds Good Feels Good,” on Oct. 23, and it’s a much-improved and mature release on their part. This album is 17 tracks of true emotion from the band. This album might be their chance at achieving the immense success of bands such as One Direction.
On “Sounds Good Feels Good,” 5SOS provides us with an edgier sound, mashing crunchy guitar riffs that are reminiscent of early Blink-182, and the pop twang and vocal lines of an NSYNC track. This record gives off such a pop-punk vibe that one could imagine finding the band, had they’d been around, as an opening act for Sum 41 in the ’90s.
The opening track to the album, “Money,” begins with audio of the band laughing and talking among each other, then hits you unexpectedly with a wall of heavy guitars and gang-vocals. This was a killer way to start off the album because of the intensity and energy the band brings to the table.
Lead single, “She’s Kinda Hot,” is an anthem for the masses. Striking strong inspiration from My Chemical Romance’s 2007 hit, “Teenagers,” this song will have millions singing along to lyrics drawing upon the idea that our generation is crippled and looked down upon, but it’s going to be all right. Front man and guitarist Luke Hemmings belts out “We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene, yeah, we’re alright, though.” This track contains one of the catchiest and most uplifting choruses on the album, and is bound to be a favorite among fans.
Even when the album gets slightly darker, it’s met with enough sweetness to make it appealing to all. “Jet Black Heart” features darker lyrics than your typical 5SOS song, with lines such as, “I write with a poison pen – the blood in my veins is made off of mistakes – dive in to the dark as we burst into color and return into life.” On the contrary, the pounding drums, courtesy of Ashton Irwin, doubled with Michael Clifford’s clean guitar melody and a groove from bassist, Calum Hood, keeps this track buoyant among the rest of the album.
Ending the album is track 17, which is split into two halves. Kicking in with repeated “whoa-ohs” from the band backed by string arrangements and subtle piano, the band seemingly closes the album with the emotional powerhouse, “Outer Space.” After three and a half minutes, the song fades into the sound of waves crashing on a beach, and shortly after, the band re-emerges into the second half of the track, “Carry On.” This section is leisurely paced, and is centered on a snare drum pattern that crescendos slowly, along with harmonizing vocals from all four members. This track ultimately ends on a tender note, and clocks out at almost seven minutes.
While not a terribly diverse album, Luke, Calum, Ashton and Michael have shown the world that they can take what they’re good at doing musically and fine tune it even more. Even catchier than their debut album, it is incredibly fun to listen to and sing with your friends. 5SOS has done pop punk a huge thank you by pushing the sound of the genre to the public. It’s evident that they are now capable of writing better content, and rightfully deserve the attention they get from their hard work.
“Sounds Good Feels Good” is a force to be reckoned with. One Direction and Blink-182 fans everywhere, rejoice.