5 Seconds Of Summer’s CALM provides essence to combat turbulent times

Australian pop-punk band 5 Seconds of Summer’s first album in two years, CALM, takes a more alt-rock spin to their sound.


Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Australian pop band 5 Seconds of Summer members Calum Hood, Luke Hemmings, Ashton Irwin and Michael Clifford, from left, following their performance at Hollywood & Highland Center in promotion of their new album, “Sounds Good, Feels Good,” on Oct. 23, 2015 on Hollywood, Calif.

Hannah Rovner, News Reporter

It’s been two years since Australian pop-punk band 5 Seconds of Summer released their last album, Youngblood. On March 27 — the height of a global pandemic — the band dropped their anticipated release, CALM.

From the start, their newest project is a mix of anything but calm. Thirty-nine minutes of deep bass tracks, sing-alongs, and choir-like vocals fill the album. Themes of love, lust, anger, and happiness fill the cracks in between, underlying each song.

Opening the album, “Red Desert” has influences of 80’s rock bands like Queen and Journey with a highly narrative storyline. Each song on the album has a creative storyline in itself, providing the ideal positive trip needed in this crazy world we are living in today.

Following the almost four-minute opener are four successive songs that the band released as singles throughout the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

The third track on the album, “Old Me,” ties back into the band’s early rise to success due to a co-headline tour with boyband One Direction. 5 Seconds of Summer express through this song that all of the success, mistakes, and more were thanks to the old version of themselves.

The first single the band released in anticipation of their new album, “Teeth,” brings forth images of an intense fight scene narration, while cutting into what seems to be a vocally violent relationship.

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Lead singer Luke Hemmings takes a spin on “Wildflower” with his dramatic and deep voice.

“Wildflower” is the perfect song to play with your windows down in the summer. Filled with high-notes and upbeat dance style tones, it is the ideal summer song to cheer you up when you’re down.

Diving into the last few tracks of the album, 5 Seconds of Summer takes on a melancholic tone. “Best Years” reflects on a negative relationship. The male voice, Hemmings, hoping to turn that around and give his lover the best years ahead. The optimism in this song ties into what our news cycle has turned into with the outbreak of COVID-19, telling us repeatedly that the good will only come after we spend our time following specific health regulations and guidelines.

Closing out the album, “High” is a higher-pitched song describing how a lover wishes his romantic partner thinks of him sober as well as high.

“High” is the perfect closing song, wrapping up the themes of the entire album with angelic melodies and harmonies, as well as a subtle guitar background.

Overall, this album shows how the band has grown since their first albums and even their previous release, Youngblood.

Mature themes and even some explicit lyrics reflect the audience that was young and innocent with the early years of 5 Seconds of Summer and how they have grown with the band.

With its more slower tones, this album is a great listen for studying for online Zoom classes or driving as the weather begins to gently lead us into summer.

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