A Music Review on 5 Seconds of Summer's album!
written by Cāngkù Shísān
After noticing the massive following 5 Seconds Of Summer have, I realised it was necessary to review one of their albums in my series of album reviews. Not only does it cater to those on the site who adore the band, it also allows for me to potentially figure out what all the fuss is about. One thing I would like to mention first, however, is the fact that I listened to the standard edition only. This review does not cover bonus tracks Safety Pin, The Girl Who Cried Wolf, or Broken Home (though having listened to Safety Pin, and I can see why it was only a bonus track).
To get the feeling needed, I first decided to get to know the band. I familiarised myself with the members, tours, and genre. I wanted to listen to this album like an expectant fan. That way, I review the album rather than reviewing my opinion of the band. If you listen to this, don’t expect your perception to be challenged. It’s just music.
The album opens with the song Money. The expectation I had built up was instantly demolished. This is not a solid opener and it doesn’t make me want to listen on. It feels like pop punk through the ages, remixed, and buffed up a little. Just a little, albeit.
She’s Kinda Hot gets into the groove. If one ignores the opener, you can appreciate the inventiveness of this track. They have allowed themselves to experiment within their genre, creating pretty solid results. However, I do feel the track is indecisive of its place, and misses the musical mark by a fraction of an inch. This is actually a good song. I praise you for this, boys.
Next we have Hey Everybody! and Permanent Vacation. Hey Everybody! uses segments from Hungry Like A Wolf, a Duran Duran hit. Since one of the members claims to be a Def Leppard fan, I find this a little insulting (Duran Duran were voted best British band of all time. Def Leppard came second). Also, the song is weak and out of place. I think It should swap places with Permanent Vacation, a far superior song. Though again, I find myself doubting their originality. Permanent Vacation was a hit album by Aerosmith. Coincidence? I would think not, and even a bonus track on this album is called The Space Between A Rock And A Hard Place. Funnily enough, Rock In A Hard Place was an album by…Aerosmith. They ought to be careful. With this song, however, the audience hears what they need to hear and it's all solidly delivered.
Next we have my personal favourite, Jet Black Heart. This shows how artists have inspired them, as musical basis in pop punk generally only comes out solidly in ballads. It doesn’t rip anyone off, and is an original piece of musicianship. Furthermore, it shows that they have some songwriting ability as the melody is on point. I can honestly say I like this song, though vocal ability needs touching up. Nothing a little practice (and autotune?) can’t fix.
Now I lose my way. I don’t actually know what’s happening. I last listened to this album an hour before writing the review, and I can’t remember any of the songs after Jet Black Heart, it's just a bunch of titles. I can’t recall a riff, or even a hook (after all, hooks are the main focus of the pop punk genre). It definitely feels like filler, and it doesn’t feel good, contrary to what the title would have me believe. However, I understand filler. When bands are rushed to get an album out, they often have filler to complete their tracklist, and rely on the singles to get them sales. But 5SOS have their own label, Hi Or Hey Records (no comment on the name;-). They shouldn’t be rushed. And if they are rushed, why don’t they just do 10 tracks, instead of 14?
I’ll be honest, I had nearly given up on this record until I got to the last track, Outer Space/Carry On. This is what they should be focusing on! It’s practically two songs in one, and harks back to Green Day hits like Jesus Of Suburbia (though it’s musically inferior, but beating Green Day is a pretty tall order) and Dirty Rotten Bastards. Here they were embracing their experimental side. And when everything in today's music industry is disposable, it makes sense to create the same sort of music to please the audience, but audience may get tired. Here we have an intelligent band that acknowledges the need to stay relevant, but doesn’t seem to know how.
Full Tracklist (standard edition)
Money/She’s Kinda Hot/Hey Everybody!/Permanent Vacation/Jet Black Heart/Catch Fire/Waste The Night/Vapor/Castaway/Fly Away/Invisible/Airplanes/San Francisco/Outer Space / Carry On
My pick(s): Jet Black Heart, Permanent Vacation