First thing 5 Seconds Of Summer want to make clear, is that they are NOT a boy-band. They play their instruments, and write their own music, so in their minds, they stand in the same ball park as rock stars, more particularly pop-punk stars like Green Day and Blink-182. 5 Seconds Of Summer… I’m sorry, but no, you’re wrong. The definition of a boy-band is “a pop group composed of young ‘men’, whose music and image are designed to appeal primarily to a young teenage audience”, so 5 Seconds Of Summer, you may well just be a boy-band. But this pigeon-holing that the music industry is so fond of is really quite tiresome and superficial. Despite this, the eponymous debut album by 5 Seconds Of Summer can still be defined in those two words: tiresome and superficial, with or without the stigmatised ‘boy-band tag’.
Sure the songs have catchy hooks and melodies, they all do! But apart from one or two exceptions, they all fade away as soon as each song’s running time elapses; and then you are left with…nothing. Whenever any factors of any of the songs begin to seem moderately appealing (which is usually the surging pop-punk guitar rhythms), there are always loud and proud moments that leap out at you to remind you that what you’re listening to is not good music. The inane and tedious lyricism and the hackneyed production techniques suck any enjoyability these songs were hoping to achieve. The lyrics are by far the greatest travesty of the album. The lyrical tales told in the songs are copied word-for-word from the weak, limp-wristed scribblings of teenage diaries and godawful poetry. Prime examples: “She’s a good girl, a straight A student. She’s really into self-improvement”, and worst of all, “he treats you so bad and I’m so good to you it’s not fair”. Nobody is going to deny that these are not instances that occur in teenage lives, but if they are going to be sung about, there are rules. Ones which 5 Seconds of Summer have clearly not followed. The main one? DON’T BE SO BLUNT! Such lyrics are so utterly heavy-handed and are both sung and read foolishly. When these matters are approached in song, subtly is essential, otherwise they come of as purely cringe-inducing and feeble. Oh, and don’t worry, there is an even spread of shallowly anthemic “ooo ooo’s”, “hey heys”, “doo doo’s” and “aaa aaa’s” that further add to the embarrassing mess.
Lead single She Looks So Perfect is polite enough, with its muted rhythm guitar and easy to digest chorus line, but the complete package is ultimately a stale one, exemplified by the utterly generic vocals. Everything I Didn’t Say is the album’s best song, and is actually quite good. Charming instrumentation, a well constructed middle-eight, and an infectious chorus (courtesy of the well-worn “4 chord song progression”) makes the song quite enjoyable. But once again, the song’s formulaic and unoriginal approach serves to render the song relatively MOR (Middle Of the Road). The best of the songs are forgettable, and the worst, such as the sissy Beside You, are just plain sickening.
The worst thing about 5 Seconds Of Summer is that despite all of this, it will still be popular. There is no way it can’t be. The hype machine is fully operational, the band have the image, and as a result, the teen girls will eat it up. It’s an album purposefully designed to be commercial on the most basic, and ultimately shameful level. Each song is churned out and dished up like a packet-cake, with a specific recipe and no risk guarantee. As such, there is no real excitement, and the energy seems vapid, forced and flat. This is not a lasting album, and one that you won’t be proud you listened to, let alone owned. So don’t own it. Avoid it. 5 Seconds Of Summer are not bad because they are a boy-band, they are bad because their music is terrible.