Imagine you’re sitting in a theatre waiting for your favorite play or musical to start, you hear the orchestra tune, and then the curtains slowly rise. The anticipation and excitement begin to fill you from your jittery legs to your child-like wide eyes.
This is the feeling that 5 Seconds of Summer’s most recent album 5sos5 captures. Boasting a staggering 19 songs and clocking in at 64 minutes, this LP represents the band's natural progression from CALM. As the quartet gets older and more mature, so do their lyricism and sonic presentation.
A cathedral of a project, written and produced mainly by the Australians themselves, was preluded by multiple singles, the first of which was “COMPLETE MESS.” This song perfectly captured what the album was going to sound like and the level of lyricism that the fans could expect. With two of the members, Ashton Irwin and Luke Hemmings, having released individual projects of their own, it seemed that the influences of those projects could be seen straight from the first single.
The third track “Bad Omens” gently opens, building anticipation, then crescendoing into the haunting refrain, reminding listeners to not ignore the red flags in relationships. “Older (feat. Sierra Deaton)” brings the tune of “You Are My Sunshine” to the forefront, enveloping lyrics like “Your cocaine colored wedding dress” in sticky sweet sentiment. In contrast “Emotions” falls flat, the song’s childlike counting and underdeveloped melodies do not hold a candle to other Michael Clifford solo songs like “Jet Black Heart.”
Although the first two-thirds of the album make sense in the discography of 5 Seconds of Summer, the last four tracks do not immediately stand out. It takes multiple listens to understand how they are necessary to the rest of the album thematically because they cover things already sung about. After multiple listens, it starts to make more sense why they were included, but I think when this album is reflected on in the future, these tracks will not be seen as necessary.
In addition to releasing the album, the boys also did a One Night Only performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This performance featured a choir and orchestra, rearrangements of old fan favorites, and the debut of songs found on their most recent endeavor. I think doing something like this helped to create a stronger bond between the fans and the album. This album will now forever and always be connected to this performance that also saw the replaying of fan favorite “Outer Space/Carry On”, which has not been played live since the Sounds Live Feels Live tour in the mid-2010s.
In a way, I think if their sophomore album Sounds Good, Feels Good was a double album, this would be the other half. Both of these projects express the confusion and pain of heartbreak and the safety and power of a solid relationship. I think the juxtaposition between these feelings as a teenager and someone well into their 20s is a testament to the personal changes one goes through as they get older.
Even with the great and not-so-good on this album, 5sos continues to show that they are one of the few bands who continue to get better every album. They somehow seem to one-up themselves every time, and this translates into their live performances as well. I think this speaks to their ability to communicate as a band and as friends. There are songs on this album that will definitely be cemented into the hall of fame for this band and define their careers.