Written by Allison Lips
5 Seconds of Summer sounds like a cheap knock-off of all the bands that have influenced them, which is a shame because they had the potential be than just “One Direction with attitude.”
Unlike most bands first starting out, 5SOS worked with their idols. “Kiss Me Kiss Me” was written with Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, while Good Charlotte’s Benji and Joel Madden contributed to “Amnesia.” The bonus tracks pile on the kid friendly pop-punk pedigree as McFly’s Tom Fletcher and Busted’s James Bourne, (both part of the super group McBusted) each contributed a song to 5SOS’s debut. These two may be virtually unknown in the United States, but they’ve both written several Top 10 singles in the UK and are part of pop-punk bands that appeal to your inner 12-year-old.
Every song on 5 Seconds of Summer’s debut album is a silly love song, even the too-many-to-count-bonus songs that change on every edition. With that being said, it should come as no surprise the band starts off the album with their signature song, “She Looks So Perfect.” Out of the gate the band establishes that they aren’t the best lyric writers, which could be contributed to the fact that they are 18-year-old boys poorly hiding their horniness so that parents don’t ban their music. However, they do have a knack for catchy pop-punk with crunchy guitars, even if it does sound like it’s stealing the style of better bands.
While all the songs on this album blend together fast, there are several songs that are blatant copies of bands or songs. “Social Casualty” took a guitar riff from New Found Glory’s “Something I Call Personality.” “Amnesia” sounds like a new version of “Hey, There Delilah.” “English Love Affair” sounds like early Panic! At the Disco. “Everything I Didn’t Say” is the biggest offender when it comes to 5SOS songs that copied American Authors’ style. The oddest copycat is “Beside You,” which sounds like the Backstreet Boys with a guitar higher in the mix.
5 Seconds of Summer is at their best when they are singing lyrics that go over their target demographics head. One hopes that their target audience won’t figure out why the band thinks “She looks so perfect standing there in my American Apparel underwear” in “She Looks So Perfect.” Then there’s “18,” which is about a girl with “A naughty tattoo in a place I want to get to, but my mom still drives me to school.” It’s not appropriate for kids, but it’s only the beginning of a hilarious song in the vein of Busted, another horny as hell band geared toward preteens. Unsurprisingly, James Bourne, who was in Busted, contributed to the bonus track “Greenlight,” which is about wanting to have sex with a hot girl.
Overall, 5 Seconds of Summer will miss with people who are very familiar with the pop-punk scene, who have already begun calling the band “One Direction with guitars.” It’s not a great album, but it will serve as a good stepping-stone for getting 12-year-old girls into pop-punk. Everyone else should go back to listening New Found Glory and check out McFly and Busted for what you should’ve been listening to when you were 12.