Written by Amy Geis
5 Seconds of Summer have skyrocketed since they hit the scene with their radio hit “She Looks So Perfect” in 2014. This quartet of Australian boys have earned the hearts of millions, not only in America, but worldwide. Sounds Good, Feels Good, their second full length album was just released by Capitol Records. Due to their average age of fans, 5SOS has be placed in the bubble gum teenie genre. But equip with black skinny jeans, guitars, and mouthes of sailors – they are surely paving their own path.
You can hear the distinct difference and growth between this album and their self-titled, 5 Seconds of Summer. In writing the songs, the boys worked with pop rock influences who were able to help them take the right steps to being the band they want to be. Being in the studio with the artists such as the Madden Brothers and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low) and having the legendary John Feldmann produce, the content was going to be more mature. Their debut album had more of a boy band sound, while this one hits you with a variety of rock where they really used their instruments as tools to sculpt their music but still trying to please the fans which are a majority of teen girls.
Something that this album does very well is experiment with various types of songs with approaches from all angles. They have pop punk influences, along with rock and pop. Some songs are jam packed with energy while others take it slow and bring the emotion. I am however noticing the lack of a straight up ballad song with little production behind it – I’m sucker for anything acoustic. (Brand New reference intended.) The closest we’ve got is “Invisible” which is accompanied by some string instruments.
“Money” scared me at first. As an opening song, it does great. Loud, catchy, and full of chanting, but the lyrics and premise of the song seemed amateur and elementary. I know 5SOS worked long and hard on this album with talented people, is this what I had to look forward to for the rest of the album? Luckily, they show their skills as songwriters as the album goes on.
Every round of listening to the album I would hit one track and say, “Oh, I really dig this song.” I’d look and see it was the same song every time. “Waste The Night” just kept pulling me in – it’s beautifully moody. “Jet Black Heart” is about hitting a dark spot with someone but instead of letting it ruin everything, turning it into a learning and growing experience. Michael Clifford’s voice is dominant and begging to be heard.
Channeling a bit of Green Day, “Permanent Vacation” is about The Man and his unfortunate power. “You say that I’m too complicated/Hung up and mis-educated/I say 9 to 5 is overrated/And we all fall down.” Wanting to get away and be anywhere else is the story of “Fly Away,” which I’m sure a lot can relate too. It’s a rejuvenating song in the rather slow end to the album.
I think for non-fans, it’s best to go into this album blind. 5SOS gets critiqued because of their age, because of their management (shared with One Direction,) and because of the “boy band” or “pop punk” labels people are putting them in. Sounds Good, Feels Good as a whole is multi-faceted, young talent and that’s what should be judged – not your possible elitist hate for these “pretty boys.” They are showing who they are as artists, songwriters, and musicians – I think that should be applauded.