5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) just put out an exploration of modern rock, 80's classics and alt- pop-rock after a 3-year hiatus that blew my mind. I've always been a fan of their music. It reminds me of the late-90's, early 2000's pop-punk and pop-rock that I grew up listening to throughout elementary and middle school. What interests me much more than any other aspect of the band is their musicality.
All four members play instruments and sing regardless of experimentation with their style and genre-focus of their music. And listening to their latest album, Youngblood, they've only gotten better and more adventurous with their creations and curation. Overall, although there were some clichéd lyrics which are unavoidable when music is inspired by decades of other artists, the composition and production of the album meanders through different rock genres and pop influences.
Some might claim that the band has lost its sound and is wandering to find direction. I, however, disagree wholeheartedly. The album is an introduction to the pilot episode for the new risks that the band is taking to define themselves.
Youngblood starts off strong with a bass drum beat that maintains the anthemic vibe of the album with the title song, "Youngblood." The mix between chill, modern synths and keyboard with pop-rock guitar and drums has worked with 5SOS before. And it works again. The first single off the album has a catchy tune with audience-participation-worthy lyrics to shout out in any venue that the band might take their tour on.
"Want You Back" follows and harkens back to 5SOS' debut album while retaining the pop elements reminiscent of their pop-mentors, One Direction, but without distracting from the album's style. It's obvious that they've worked hard in their time off to shift their record from the band they started off as. Their musicality has improved vastly, containing complex chord progressions and intricate drumming. This song represents the band as influenced by the last decade of music, while having reached of age in the mid-2010s.
Those same pop elements can be found on "Lie to Me" and "Valentine." They also show a maturity of subject, although we've heard some of those lyrics before. "Valentine" changes course to a Black Keys, Panic! at the Disco-type of alt-rock that can be experienced through the rest of the record.
What really threw me for the best loop I've been on in a while was hearing "Talk Fast." I could make comparisons to so many 80's and early 90's rock and pop-rock performers that I listened to on my parent's cassettes. I have not heard this sound in new music with young artists yet. The guitar kills and the chorus is a bop-and-a-half!
There is the similar style found in later songs on the album as what started-off the record such as "Moving Along," "If Walls Could Talk," "Better Man," and "More." All their voices, and especially Luke's, have matured greatly and create an addicting sound.
"Why Won't You Love Me," Woke Up in Japan," "Empty Wallets," "Ghost of You," and "Monster Among Men" slow down the tracks and bring around a more chill atmosphere, but gets me thinking: 'Who hurt you, 5SOS?' The music and lyrics are more mature, but this part of the record highlights the life experiences the band has drawn from since the last time they released music. Their layered voices, in general, and harmonies, specifically, add depth to the songs, differing from the single-voiced verses they partitioned in earlier records.
Rounding off the record are "Meet You There" and "Babylon." The entire album shows development and careful research conveyed through the musicality and lyricism in each song. These bold songs, like "Babylon," seem like music that can be boomed through an arena tour, or sang through in concert hall venues.
I am incredibly interested to see what music and direction that 5 Seconds of Summer will voyage through and discover. If this album is any indication of their future, I'm way on board!