Anyone who knows me well could easily tell you how much the pop/punk, punk rock, and alternative genres of music really mean to me. I grew up with them my entire life, and when I say that, I don’t just mean since I was a teenager. I mean since I was 7 or 8 years old, between the first and second grade. My older brother introduced me to all of these types of music at such a young age and I have never stopped listening to them since. I was that crazy 8-year-old on the school playground at my brother’s baseball games listening to Blink 182, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Yellowcard, Sum 41, Green Day, and everything in between. These bands and all of the different types of sounds that came from their music became a huge part of me and have honestly been my companions during almost every major event in my life. The thing about this type of music and these bands is that eventually the members got older and older, some of their sounds changed, some broke up, and some haven’t released anything new in a while. Even though they were decently popular in the '90s and early to mid-2000s, I assumed the pop/punk/rock/alternative genre was starting to fade away from this culture. Fast forward to sophomore year of high school and a new Australian band, that was just starting to gain some traction in the public eye, finding their way into my life. From then on they have been bringing back the pop/punk genre and everything I used to and still do love about music.
Who Are They?
For those of you who don’t know, 5 Seconds of Summer is a pop/punk band that was formed in 2011. The band consists of Luke Hemmings (rhythm guitarist and vocals), Calum Hood (bass guitarist and vocals), Michael Clifford (guitarist and vocals), and Ashton Irwin (drummer and some vocals). Being only between the ages of 19 to 21, they are starting out just as all of my favorite bands always did. As of now they have two debut albums, their self-titled album and their new album "Sounds Good Feels Good" that was released just last week.
Even before their first debut album was released, they had a couple of tracks available on YouTube. The first time I ever heard their first songs, “Heartbreak Girl” and “Try Hard,” I couldn’t contain my excitement. I didn’t think it was possible. The band had a sound that embodied everything I loved about the pop/punk genre. The lyrics, guitar melodies, and vocal tone brought me back to my younger days, and the first thing I ever said to my sister after I heard “Try Hard” was, “This sounds like my childhood.” I was given hope that the genre was still alive.
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5 Seconds of Summer’s sound reminds me a lot of the typical conventions of the genre but they do have their own unique sound, especially in their vocals. Maybe it’s just my familiarity with their music but I can recognize the voices of each member very distinctly. Some people may disagree, but all you pop/punk fans, I’m sure, can relate to being able to pick out the distinct tone of each of your favorite bands in the genre. The changing of singers constantly throughout each song makes them so fun to listen to along with their head banging drum beats, guitar riffs, and melodies. However, the familiarity of their general and overall sound to some great bands I grew up with, including All Time Low, MxPx, Mest, Better Luck Next Time, The Starting Line, the ones I mentioned before, and many more, is why they are gradually bringing back the genre.
You can’t have pop/punk music without the rebellious, incredibly relatable, and simple natured lyrics, right? Especially on their first album and tracks on their new one, including “She’s Kinda Hot,” “Permanent Vacation,” and “Hey Everybody,” 5 Seconds of Summer’s lyrics embody the whole concept of not conforming, going your own way, and just being a teenager. The best way I can describe it comes from one of their lyrics saying, “We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene.” This entire idea brings back the feel that was forever engraved into my view of the genre from bands like Simple Plan, Blink 182, and Good Charlotte. However, what many people don’t know is that the pop/punk genre features some of the greatest and hard-hitting lyrics to teenagers through slower ballads and medium tempo songs, which 5 Seconds of Summer has as well in a number of their tracks, including “If You Don’t Know,” “The Girl Who Cried Wolf,” and even “Broken Home.”
Influences and Collaborations
One of the main reasons I believe pop/punk is making a comeback is the fact that the songwriters who write with 5 Seconds of Summer on some of their tracks include some of my favorite members of my childhood bands. The band has written their songs with Benji and Joel Madden (Good Charlotte), Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low), and has even been in the studio with Sum 41 and Simple Plan before. One of the best things to happen to the band has been having John Feldmann (the lead singer of Goldfinger) as their mentor and helper on each album. He has written loads of songs with the band and continues to help them develop their sound. Just knowing that some of my favorite bands support and love working with 5 Seconds of Summer brings together my childhood and teenage/college years and is allowing everything to come full circle for me.
Welcome 5 Seconds of Summer
With the gaining popularity 5 Seconds of Summer has developed, involving sold out stadium shows and performances in places like Madison Square Garden, they are on track to only grow bigger as years go by. Being that some of their greatest influences include Mcfly, Blink 182, Busted, Green Day, Mayday Parade, and much more, these bands are even starting to gain new fans. This gives me hope in the rebirth of the genre and appreciation of all of these bands' work for years and some even decades. From the first time I heard them around four years ago, I knew they were going to have a special place in my life as all of my pop/punk, punk/rock, and alternative music has ever since that day my brother showed me the song “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte. It all means so much to me and I’m glad that 5 Seconds of Summer is bringing back the pop/punk genre and reminding me why I fell in love with this type of music in the first place.
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