‘CALM’ hints personal growth for 5SOS
I’ve been a fan of Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer (also known as 5SOS) for a very long time — I’m pretty sure I started listening to them around the time we were all saying things were “legit” and silly bands were popular.
Needless to say, when the band announced its fourth studio album “CALM,” I was pretty excited. Many of the songs they’ve written over the years have become staples in all of my favorite playlists.
The band’s last album, “Youngblood” had an ‘80s rocker vibe and aesthetic to it, which I adored. But I was a little disappointed to see that this same style hadn’t returned in “CALM.”
Regardless of the album’s different, less-grungy aesthetic, I really liked “CALM.” The title comes directly from the group itself — “CALM” is an acronym created with each of the members’ initials. It’s easy to tell that the band has grown since the last time we heard them. With songs about loving someone for the rest of your life, or dealing with fame and loneliness, the songs on this album are a far cry from the fun-loving, somewhat juvenile songs like “Good Girls” from their past albums.
In my opinion, the best song on the album is “Wildflower.” From the beginning four-part harmonies to the upbeat, poppy chorus, this love song is hard to stop listening to.
Another highlight on the album is “Best Years.” Sung by lead singer Luke Hemmings, the soulful chorus about giving someone the best years of their life is borderline heart-melting.
Songs like “No Shame,” “Old Me” and “Lonely Heart” truly demonstrate the four bandmates’ growth. “Old Me” is about growing up and learning from the stupid things you did as a kid — “had to f**k it up before I let you get to know me.” And the folks on Genius seem to think that “No Shame” is a reference to Hollywood and the tendencies of the famous to do whatever it takes to stay in the limelight — “diggin’ my grave to get a reaction, changin’ my face and callin’ it fashion.”
One of the downfalls of the album is “Teeth,” a single they released last August. “Teeth” sounds like the band’s best approximation of what Billie Eilish would sound like if she were four Australian dudes. The song’s unusually similar beat and tone to Eilish’s “Bad Guy” seems a little fishy when you realize that “Teeth” came out the same month that “Bad Guy” hit No. 1 on the Billboard top 100. And I won’t even bring up “Teeth’s” terrifying, dentist-centered music video.
Other than “Teeth” and a few slower songs that just aren’t my thing, “CALM” is chock-full of songs that will pull on your heartstrings, all while keeping you dancing.
I don’t think they’ll ever be able to top their second studio album “Sounds Good Feels Good,” but that could just be my personal bias since that was the album I got to see played live in 2017. But with solid lyrics, lovingly familiar garage-band instrumentals and poppy charm, this album comes pretty close.
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