Thursday, 3 July 2014

5 Seconds of Summer: album review

After seeing that quite a lot of people had read my review of 5 Seconds of Summer's first ep, I thought it might be a good idea to do a track-by-track review of their self-titled, debut album, as I did with The Vamps  (here) and did last week with Ed Sheeran's new album (here). The Australian band's album was released in the UK on Monday (30th June) and I honestly haven't listened to anything else since. Having heard a lot of live versions of the tracks I was quite on edge as to whether I would like the studio versions but I honestly think they're so good. You can really tell how much time has been put into this album and I can understand why even the band themselves love it as much as they do.

Honestly, I really wasn't expecting this. Like, I hoped that I would like it, but it's amazing. My mind has been blown. There are quite a few different influences on the album and I like the merging of different sounds together. Essentially, the album has a strong rock vibe throughout, collided with the pop sound you often hear on the radio. Equally there's evidence of punk influences and I think it's really refreshing to hear that again.

Literally, this album. There aren't the right words to express how I feel about it because I don't think it's something I've ever really felt about an album before. I love the guitar driven sound and the really strong rock influences, but even more so: the ballads. I cannot reiterate enough how much of a massive sucker I am for ballads. Can't even comment on one in particular right now because I just can't. Music has destroyed my soul with too many heavy feelings that it forces me to feel; queen of emotional repression isn't really a title I can maintain when it comes to ballads, dammit.

So this album huh:

1. She Looks So Perfect

I don't really want to say much about She Looks So Perfect as I've already talked about it in my ep review (here), but it's worth saying that I still like it. Sometimes after hearing a song so many times, especially on the radio, it can become somewhat tedious, but this one's still just as catchy as when I first heard it.

2. Don't Stop

Don't Stop was the band's second single, released a few weeks ago. It's so darn catchy. The music video for this song is really fun, with the band dressing up as superheroes and saving the world in their own special way. It's so driven by the electric guitar, with a really full, upbeat sound. The lyrics are quite cheeky, continuing on with what new listeners may expect after She Looks So Perfect. I feel like the drum part in this song should get some credit because essentially I think it's the thing that attracts me to the song the most. It's very bold throughout and really hooked me to the track. If someone asked me to sing the song for them (lord/life/everything forbid), I wouldn't be able to sing it without incorporating the drum line in some way, just because the song wouldn't be right without it.

3. Good Girls

I feel the lyrics of this song on a spiritual level. Being the stereotypical 'good girl' myself, this song just reminds me how many sides there are to me that most people are completely unaware of. I'd also like to think that I was my dad's favourite kid, so we're just gonna pretend that lyric's relevant lolz. It's so upbeat, with a fast tempo, practically surging the song on, and really reinforcing the message embedded. This is one of the punkier songs on the album, being a little bit confrontational and generally just young and fun. Initially after hearing it I thought it would be a favourite of mine on the album, but there are so many consistently good songs that I almost managed to forget about it; not because it isn't good, but simply because the standard of the album is so high.

4. Kiss Me Kiss Me

This song is fun oh. Essentially it's about making the most of the time you have with someone before you're both doing other things in other places. It has a strong young/free love vibe and I think it would sound great at a festival??? I don't know, in my head it would just sound better live and outside, not that it doesn't already sound good enough. I love the middle eight with the electric guitar and drums really dominating. It's very rocky, but equally something that would sound at home being blasted out on the radio. I really like the line 'tell the truth and I'll show you how to dare;' it's cute but equally kind of edgy. I'm into it.

5. 18

I really, really like 18. It's just sounds so young and kind of naive, but equally the rock sound gives it a real touch of maturity despite the message. The hook on the electric guitar is probably my favourite of the riffs in any of 5sos' songs, so it's a real winner. The song's basically about liking someone older than you, and in this case, someone over 18 who can legally do things that the speaker can't. But at the same time they're really trying to prove they're mature enough to be with this older person. Personally I just think it's really cute and kind of makes me sympathise with them, despite having never had to worry about this kind of situation myself. It's just a bit of an 'aw' song, but I think that element is hidden by the instrumentation.

6. Everything I Didn't Say

The opening of Everything I Didn't Say poses the song as a fairly soft rock ballad, and then bam, the chorus kicks in and it's like a really rocky power ballad. It's quite a nostalgic song, looking back on all the mistakes you made in a relationship and everything that you could've done, or said, but ultimately didn't. It's a very regretful song and really, I don't know, songs like this really remind me how normal songwriters are; I feel like the faster tempo songs are often the ones that people associate bands with, whereas actually it's the ballads that you really have to listen to, because it reiterates that they aren't just going to parties and having fun, like maybe Don't Stop would initially lead you to believe, but they're real people with real feelings and that's something a lot of people tend to ignore. I think this song tells you quite a lot about the band if you really listen to it.

7. Beside You

I think Beside You was one of the first songs by 5sos that I ever listened to, and I like how they've done it up a bit for the album. It's got a really sad message about being miles away from the person you care about the most, and just wanting to lie beside them and make them feel okay, but you can't. 'So close but so far away,' really summarises long distance relationships in my eyes, like, they're always on your mind but never actually anywhere near you. I sort of forgot about this song before listening to it on the album and I don't really know how or why because it's so pretty and heartfelt (and a ballad, help me lord); I could listen to it for hours.

8. End Up Here

Initially I wasn't too sure about End Up Here, so much so that I left it a couple of days before writing this one. But, I do like it. A lot more than I first thought I did. The shout-y chorus would sound soooo good live, especially with a crowd singing/yelling along to it. 'Call me lucky 'cause in the end, I'm a six and she's a ten' is cute/sad ohhhh. I literally just want to yell this song all the time now, so I don't really know what was going on in my head when I first listened to it. It's really rock-y but not too much if ya know what I mean.

9. Long Way Home

I think this might be my favourite song on the album gaaaaa. I love everything about it. I listened to it for the first time a few days ago sat by the canal and it just sounded like everything I wanted to hear right there and then; it's literally been stuck in my head ever since. The idea of 'taking the long way home' is something kind of heart warming; like, taking as long as possible to get back to reality because you just want to spend as much time as you can with the person you're with. Equally I think the lyrics could represent how the band travel the world and it takes a long time before they get the chance to return home again. 'Green Day's on the radio' gives a reminder of the band's influences as well, which is something I actually really like to hear in songs, although I'm aware it bothers a lot of other people. I really can't get enough of this song.

10. Heartbreak Girl

I didn't actually like Heartbreak Girl the first time I listened to it. It was when I was first listening to the band and I was just kind of like, meh and didn't listen to it again until a few months ago. But then I was like, actually this is a pretty good song. I like what it's about, the idea of someone you're friends with, but really like, always talking to you about other people and you putting up with it because you want to prove that you're the right person for them. It's a nice concept, but it's so bitchy lolz. I really like it now so I'm glad I listened to it again (always give songs a good few chances before discarding them completely).

11. English Love Affair

After reading the title of this song, I don't really know what I was expecting, but it wasn't this. I think I thought it might be softer??? But I'm kind of glad it isn't. Being English myself I was expecting some stereotypes: 'kissing in the rain,' conforming in the way I'd hoped, plus the mention of Mayfair. 'The story line was so ridiculous' is a lyric I really like, because it essentially looks at the whole thing as though it seemed like a fantasy and something that didn't seem believable even to the speaker. It's such a rock song and I love it. It's a favourite.

12. Amnesia

This stupid song. I cried and I hate myself so much for it. The acoustic guitar is the instrument that just gets my heart so bad. This is the only song on the album that the band didn't write on, being written by the Madden brothers of Good Charlotte. I just, I'm listening to it right now and really at a struggle to form words and keep myself from balling. Okay, turning it off. It is the easily one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. And the most beautiful ones are always the saddest and essentially most tragic. I think that as personal as the song seems to the band, it's actually personal to most of the people that will ever listen to it, as we all have memories that really hurt us to look back on. This song is the band's next single which I'm really not okay with; the idea of it coming on the radio without any warning is not an appealing one because I will cry and it will be awful. This is without a doubt the song that hits the hardest.

13. Social Casualty

I love the message of Social Casualty. 'Save me from who I'm supposed to be,' gaaaaaa, yes. It's essentially about not conforming to societal expectations and I am so thankful for this song. I think more people need to write music like this: not about love but about real life stuff like dealing with people's naive expectations. 'I'll always be a part of the minority' is a really comforting lyric and I think that it's something that young people will really want to hear. It's an acceptance that you're different and yet not at all trying to change that or let anyone else change it. Such a positive statement for young people today.

14. Never Be

Never Be could've probably become kind of soppy, but I think the drums really stopped that from happening and it just works so well. A strong drum beat in a ballad like this isn't something you get often but I love it in this song. After listening to the previews of the album I thought this would be my favourite song, but I think it's probably in the number two position. I like the chanting, something that features on quite a few of 5sos' songs; it just gives it real drive and gives something that people who don't even know the songs can sing along to. Essentially it's about embracing the present time and making the most of where you are and what you're doing, 'we'll never be as young as we are now.' 'It's time to leave this old black and white town'/'we won't wait for tomorrow' makes me think about the band's global growth and this song seems like one of the most personal ones.

15. Voodoo Doll

The studio version of this song sounds sooooo much better than the live versions I've listened to. And I really liked the live clips so I'm very impressed with this track. I like the concept, the whole idea of feeling like someone's made a voodoo doll of you because everything's kind of out of your hands. It shows how worryingly controlling some people can be, and yet make you feel like it was all your idea???? I don't know if anyone else gets that, but the song's made me think about how manipulative people are, especially those in any kind of relationship. A really great song with a lot of force behind it.

16. Greenlight

Greenlight didn't come on the physical copy of the album but I just downloaded it from iTunes. Not gonna lie, didn't like this one very much the first few times I listened to it. The verses seemed a bit too processed if that makes sense? Like, really formatted, like, this, then this, then this. But over the past few days I've listened to it more and it's really darn catchy, so maybe that's just the effect they were going for, it would make sense anyway because it works well. I especially like the lil electric guitar solo in the middle. In most rock music I tend to feel like they're pushing those solos on for too long, but it was short and sweet. A much better track than I initially thought.

Overall the album would get a pretttttty good rating from me. I would recommend it to anyone who's open to listening to something new, because this kind of new is actually quite reminiscent of the 90s/early 00s, so it's somewhat familiar despite being a bit modernised. I honestly really like it and am waiting patiently for the band to tour again in the UK so I can hear the songs live (please).

Let me know what you think of the album, what your favourite tracks are etc, I'd love to know :)

It's available on iTunes here

Until next time.

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