Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sounds Good, Feels Good - 5 Seconds of Summer: album review

October seems to have been the month of album reviews on my blog.

There have been a few new releases that I have loved this month, and this is one I think particularly highly of. There's so much variation all on one album. 5 Seconds of Summer released their second album, Sounds Good, Feels Good on Friday, and I'm so taken back by it.

The album seems so experimental, with so many different sounds, that all work together to create something truly diverse. There are so many topics and issues discussed and there's a real sense of experience on this album, that I don't think really featured so much on the first record.

Money seems like a great starter for the album; there's a short sequence when the band are entering, with them talking, followed by the song just starting. Usually there's much more of a build up and tension at the beginning of an album, but I like that it goes straight into it. It's a real rock number that follows on nicely from the kind of sound on the first album, whilst simultaneously progressing into something new.

I did a song of the week on She's Kinda Hot when it came out as the first single for this album, so I won't dwell on it too much and I'll link that here. It's still catchy as heck and has a strong sense of what else is to come on the album. A great track. And I think Hey Everybody! works great as the second single, as it has a similar kind of feel to it, but is an advancement on the first single. This one for me is very relatable, as the main theme is being broke, something everyone goes through at some point in their lives, and that's the state I'm currently living in as a student. It feels very anthemic, much like She's Kinda Hot, and it's like something that could join people together??? The anthemic drive creates a kind of union, and I can imagine a crowd yelling it out all together at a gig.

Permanent Vacation is one of my favourite songs on this album; I loved hearing it live at the tour earlier this year and it's so nice to be able to hear how it translates from a live track to studio audio. It still holds the same feel to it, and I love hearing something have the same effect on an album as it has live. Like the previous tracks, it has a real drive to it, and with a crowd singing along it couldn't get much better.

There are some really hard hitting songs on this album, and one of those is definitely Jet Black Heart. The themes throughout the song are very relatable to young people of a similar age to the band themselves, and I think it's kind of reassuring to hear that other people your age are going through the same things, because sometimes you can feel so alone in your struggle. 'The blood in my veins is made up of mistakes' feels so real. Similarly, Broken Home has such a heavy subject matter, that I think must be something that so many young people can relate to. The inner turmoil caused by situations at home is such a sad thing, and one that isn't discussed very much in music (off the top of my head I can't think of any band but Good Charlotte who really discuss this matter), so as sad as it is to hear, it's a wonderful thing that the band have done by writing this song. I think it's so important to talk about real life issues in music and these two songs have done a remarkable job.

Invisible also, is a deep song. It's a stunning ballad, that relates to the lives of many. The acoustic guitar in a song like this always creates the most melancholy tone, and that combined with the strings section demands you to feel the message of the song. The repetition of 'who am I' and 'I don't know myself' has such an effect, and they're things that I personal find myself thinking a lot. The strings ending the song are so atmospheric, and I think the end moves on nicely to the following song, Airplanes. This song feels like a comeback. Coming back from the sadness and depression and doing everything you can to do something great, no matter how difficult it might be. It's so uplifting. And I think Michael's voice works so perfectly for this song, because it has this rawness that really compliments the lyrics. The instrumentation adds so much to the song as well. It's inspiring.

Like Airplanes, Safety Pin also has the nicest tone and feel to it. It's feels like finally getting over something. And that's a really wonderful feeling. The verses have a great drive to them and I love how it slows down a little for the bridge before diving into the chorus; the drums sound like a heartbeat throughout this song, and that pulse creates this sense of regaining the ability to breathe??? Like it feels like you can finally take a breath and feel okay again. It's one of my favourites (although I could probably say the same for all of the songs on this album). The tone of Waste The Night is another I really like. The repeated 'I don't wanna waste it' is how we should all feel about life, and it's like that message is being drummed in through the beat of the song; I think it would sound so lovely to hear a whole crowd of people chanting along. This song has a really different sound to it, and I love the electric guitar line in the middle eight especially; it sounds so different without the other instrumentation surrounding it.

I love the more experimental interludes, something that comes in again on San Francisco, moving on from one track to the next. It adds an older vibe to the album, which is something refreshing to hear from a newer band. I love the acoustic guitar that starts off San Francisco with a really soft, sweet sound, which Calum's voice compliments beautifully. This is probably the song that reminds me most of the first album, because it's like a longing to go back to a place that you were before, and so it sounds more youthful than some of the other songs on Sounds Good, Feels Good. It's just really pretty to be honest.

Catch Fire sounds like a song with older influences, probably due to the American anthem allusions, but it works really well. The beat is really strong throughout, and I love the drums in particular on this track. The chorus is stunning; I don't know how the band have managed to blend so many different sounds together and make it work so well, but it sounds great.

The intro to Castaway sounds very different, once again. The rapid beat works really well, with the verses almost sounding as though they're rushing to get to something, but then the chorus evens out more and it's, I don't know, it's very grand?? It's the kind of song that you have to really listen to, and even then you wouldn't be able to describe it. And I like that. The theme of loneliness comes up again, and I'm glad that the band are willing to discuss topics like that. In contrast, rather than discussing loneliness, Vapour is a longing for companionship, which ties in well. There's this need to feel every part of someone and to have them completely wash over you with their entire being. The want for company overriding the desolation of loneliness.

The Girl Who Cried Wolf makes me feel cold. I don't know how else to explain it. It's a devastatingly beautiful ballad. The calm tone throughout the verses, despite it being such a hard hitting song, has the most unique effect. The constant repetition of 'is anyone there at all?' is so compelling, and it's not just a question, but a mindset you can get completely lost and immersed in.

The final track on the album, Outer Space/Carry On is such a brilliant note to end on. Outer Space has such an atmosphere about it; it's something that you can't describe. And the sound of the sea at the end; it just sounds right. Carry On is incredible - the organ and drums, wow. And there's a sense of carrying on to the next part of the journey and the band's next tour and album. The group vocals are amazing and the gospel effect they have is stunning and it's just something so different and unexpected for this band.

I can't wait to hear how their sound progresses further.

You can find the album on iTunes here. Couldn't recommend it more.

Until next time.

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