Review: 5 Seconds of Summer - Sounds Good Feels Good
5SOS are back with new album "Sounds Good Feels Good", but does it?
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5 Seconds of Summer joined the party rather late in 2014, and they’re already back with their sophomore album ‘Sounds Good Feels Good’. But the question is: does it sound good? Does it feel good?
Broadly, yes. The latest album offers a solid run of energetic and incredibly catchy choruses, and the energy never lets up. The group are about as tame as pop punk gets, but this will only help to broaden their appeal, stretching from blink-182 devotees after a lighter touch to disillusioned Directioners looking for something slightly edgier.
Lead single She’s Kind of Hot doesn’t stray too far away from group’s break out hit She Looks So Perfect. It’s naughty, tongue-in-cheek, and features wolf-whistling and a glockenspiel. The rest of the album, on the other hand, is slightly less silly (and filthy) than the band’s debut. They’ve turned up the angst, and now sing about identity crises (‘Invisible’); cash problems (‘Hey Everybody!’); and even divorce (‘Broken Home’ on the deluxe edition). It’s clear that lead singer Luke Hemmings is ‘the voice of the new generation’, as he proclaims on ‘Permanent Vacation’.
For the most part it’s nice to try and take 5 Seconds of Summer a bit more seriously, but sometimes they fall a little short of the mark.
On moody belters like Jet Black Heart and Catch Fire, the passion with which Hemmings belts out the choruses is almost enough to overlook some bland and uninventive lyrics, e.g. ‘I wanna breath you in like a vapour’ (Vapour); ‘I’m lonely like a castaway’ (Castaway). In fact, Hemmings general ethos seems to be “if you sing something with enough conviction, it must be good”. Most bands would blush to be 'nah-nah-nah-ing' or 'oh-oh-oh-ing' with the intensity that 5SOS do.
Saying this, elsewhere on the album there are some perfectly rounded hits.
San Francisco is a sweet acoustic number about a holiday romance in the vein of The Plain White Tees 'Hey There Delilah'. Waste the Night is an enjoyably taut pop song with tense verses and a feel good chorus about plucking up the courage to approach a potential love interest. There does come a point when the shout-y choruses and inoffensive guitar riffs become a bit predictable, but the album never flags and some gentler songs nearer the end help maintain interest.
If you really want to enjoy Sounds Good Feels Good, you have to come to the band ready to accept their clichéd tales of heartbreak and their watered down sense of rebellion. Even if you’re not in the mood for heart-on-your-sleeve, we’re-all-in-this-together anthems, I can guarantee you’ll be tapping your foot or swaying along against your better judgement.
5 Seconds of Summer are ultimately a very likeable band, and few people will have any objection to their generally upbeat, energetic sound. What they lose in originality, they gain in the breadth of their fan base, and there’s nothing to stop Sounds Good Feels Good shooting to Number One like its predecessor.