CALM Review

The album cover of 5SOS's 4th record, CALM

The album cover of 5SOS’s 4th record, CALM

A track by track review of 5 Seconds of Summer’s 4th studio album released on March 27th, 2020

   5 Seconds of Summer, an Australian band consisting of lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Luke Hemmings, bassist/vocalist Calum Hood, drummer/vocalist Ashton Irwin, and lead guitarist/vocalist Micheal Clifford have been together since 2011. Their careers as musicians have matured as they have grown up, starting as a pop-punk band then venturing to explore different music styles and genres. Their evolution as musicians and people have been remarkable and drastic- with their latest release being their most mature and sophisticated album yet. 

   Red Desert– The opening song to the album sets up the mood and the direction of the album. This song promises high energy and alludes to themes of self-discovery throughout the album. The most outstanding component of this song is the drum track that helps create the anticipation for the rest of the album. This song promises high-energy for their live shows.  

   No Shame– Opening with a sick bassline, “No Shame” builds the suspense of the listener all the way up to the chorus. Despite the overall upbeat sound to this song, the lyrics spin quite a different tale. Lines such as “I only light up when cameras are flashing, never enough and no satisfaction” and “Digging my grave to get a reaction, Changing my face and calling it fashion” poke fun at the media and how fame can often lead people to become ingenuine and materialistic. 

   Old Me– “Old Me” is a reflection of the band’s growth throughout the years. It is a song about accepting the past and channeling those emotions into striving forward. “Old Me” is a special song for those who have been longtime fans of 5SOS, as a majority of them feel as if they have grown up with this band, and are proud of how far they have come. This is a song of realization that one’s mistakes are what made them who they are now. 

   Easier– The first single released off of this album, “Easier” has a sound closely reminiscent of their 3rd album, “Youngblood.” This song takes inspiration from 80s/90s synth pop, with heavy beats and catchy rhythms. 

   Teeth– “Teeth” is an anthem from the get-go, with an infectious bassline, Hemmings’s impressive falsetto vocals, and sick guitar riffs. With a heavily-produced sound, “Teeth” is an intense tune that shows the band’s versatility. 

   Wildflower– The last single to be released, “Wildflower” is a definite fan-favorite. Sung entirely by bassist/vocalist Hood, this song is a standout on the album. With it’s upbeat tempo, “Wildflower” captures a perfect light-hearted energy before the album settles into the second and more introspective half. 

   Best Years– The first ballad off the album, “Best Years” is one of 5SOS’s most mature songs to date. This album is mostly written about the members’ adult lives so far and reflections on their past. This song acknowledges past mistakes but promises a bright future. The subdued instrumentals of the song make it simple yet impactful. 

   Not in the Same Way– “Not in the Same Way” mixes their instruments with synth and trap beats, which makes for an interesting sound that is uniquely 5SOS. The lyrics are straightforward but depict a complicated situation, showing maturity in songwriting. 

   Lover of Mine– “Lover of Mine” is like “Best Years’s” older sibling. The song is charming and eloquent, with the piano intro leading to the acoustic guitar. The drums are also quite remarkable on this song in particular. The lyrics are poetic and sincere. 

   Thin White Lies– This song is not a standout on the album, but it still maintains the intensity of the album. The highlight of the song are the lyrics, with lines like “I don’t think I like me anymore, Can someone tell me who I was before?”

   Lonely Heart– Even though this is not the last song on the tracklist, I consider this song to be a part of the finale of the album. Its tempo changes and the guitar riff make the song original and distinct, all while still being very catchy. The drama and energy of this song is nearly palpable and it is a striking juxtaposition to the next song. 

   High– This is song was initially a bit of a shocker to be the last song on the album. It sounds different from the rest of the album, with some obvious Beatles inspiration. It is simple with quite repetitive lyrics, but it is still mournful, introspective, and poetic. It is a great end to this album, because the album deals with topics of self-awareness and growth as individuals, and “High” is reflective of that. 

   CALM is representative of the evolution of this band through the past 8 years, three world tours, four studio albums, and is indicative that their career is only going to continue to grow.

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