On March 27, 2020, 5 Seconds of Summer released their fourth album titled CALM. The new 12-song album debuted at number one on the Australia and UK charts; however, after units of their album accidentally shipped early, the band lost their opportunity to take the number one spot on the United States’ Billboard charts.
5SOS’ four-man band first formed in 2011 and is made up of Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin. The members released their debut album in 2014, self-titled as 5 Seconds of Summer. Following their first album, 5SOS released two more albums leading up to CALM: Sounds Good Feels Good and Youngblood.
Alissa O’Rorke, an 18 year-old finance freshman, said, “I first started listening to 5SOS when I was 12 or 13. It’s actually hard to imagine it’s been that long. I found out about them because they were touring with One Direction, and I saw them open for them [One Direction] in 2014. I first listened to the new album [CALM] about a week ago I think – just a couple days after it was released. It’s been nice to have new music to listen to while stuck at home actually. I really like CALM.”
Before CALM’s official release, 5SOS launched four singles from the album, including “Easier,” “Teeth, “No Shame,” and “Old Me.” These four songs encompass some of the most upbeat songs on the album. Since its release, “Easier” has accumulated over 200 million streams on Spotify. The song features unique vocals and a catchy beat despite its illustration of a rocky relationship and is definitely one of the album’s best.
Thea Miller, a 19 year-old English freshman, said, “I really like their song ‘Old Me’ because I can relate to it, and it has a good beat, but I don’t think it [CALM] is as good as their album 5 Seconds of Summer. ‘Old Me’ is really the only one I consistently listen to and like to listen to from CALM.”
Similarly, “Teeth” is also quite upbeat despite its more sinister lyrics, including the line “Don’t know if you love me or you want me dead.” In addition, “Teeth” was also featured in Season 3 of Thirteen Reasons Why. The song’s sudden tempo changes adds to its compelling nature.
Among my personal favorites within the album are “Red Desert,” “Wildflower,” “Lover of Mine” and “High.” In “Red Desert,” the listener is exposed to theatrical overtones created by the layering of the band members’ voices. The lyrics, vocals and beat give the song a haunting sound, making it one of the best songs on the album.
Furthermore, in “Wildflower,” the listener can also hear the use of vocal layering at the song’s start, giving it a memorable beginning. Due to the song’s strong lyrics and buildup to the chorus, it is easily my favorite song on the album.
O’Rorke said, “My favorite song right now is probably ‘No Shame.’ It’s so catchy, and I can’t help but be in a better mood whenever I listen to it. I also really like ‘Wildflower’ and ‘Lover of Mine.’ It’s nice to have Calum be featured more with ‘Wildflower.’ I think his voice is so good and deserves to have its own spotlight on the album.”
The haunting melody of “Lover of Mine” and “High” earned them a spot in my top five favorites from the album. The beautiful, love-struck lyrics of “Lover of Mine” leaves a lasting impression on the listener. In contrast, “High” offers the opposite perspective, acting as a ballad of heartbreak.
Among those already mentioned, the album’s other songs are “Best Years,” “Not in the Same Way,” “Thin White Lies” and “Lonely Heart.” Although I find “Not in the Same Way” to be incredibly catchy, I personally find the other three songs to lack memorability.
Overall, the album is much mellower than those of 5SOS’ past. With darker lyrics and slower songs, 5 Seconds of Summer’s music continues to evolve over time. While there are many upbeat songs as well, the edgier nature of their lyrics and meanings gives CALM a different feel than 5SOS’ previous albums. With that being said, this album is excellent for an entirely different reason. The transparent lyrics sung by the band expresses not only the evolution of their music, but also the evolution of the band as they mature.