5 Seconds Of Summer is hotter than ever
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2015 - 9:00am

I wonder if One Direction (1D) now regrets booking the Australian boy band 5 Seconds Of Summer (5SOS) as curtain raiser on their world tour two years ago. That tour scored major points in 1D’s rise to the top. It established the British group as the No. 1 boy band of this generation. However, it also introduced all those diehard 1D fans to a good, though somewhat different second choice.

I also wonder, did anybody from the 1D front see 5SOS as a possible rival, or a strong contender to the title? Whoever did must have been fulminating, “I told you so’s,” rabidly when he got hold of Billboard Magazine’s Top 200 albums chart last week. There ensconsed in the No. 1 spot was Sounds Good Feels Good, the latest album by 5SOS. That means that 5SOS now has two consecutive No. 1 albums. Well, it dropped a few notches on the second week but Sounds Good Feels Good can still rightfully claim having been No. 1.

It was a shining proof that the guys from Australia have now completed their transition into a global brand. They are also now firmly established in the US of A. In the realm of pop music, that also means the world. And to top it all, the 5SOS pop/punk explosion is happening only a few days before the release of the new, very much-awaited 1D album, Made In The A.M.

5SOS is made up of Luke Hemmings, 19, on vocals and guitars; Michael Clifford, 19, guitar and vocals; Calum Hood, 19, bass and vocals; and Ashton Irwin, 21, drums. They were high school kids who got together only four years ago. Their first big hit was She Looks So Perfect. They all come from working class families and have no formal training in music. These boys started out uploading covers of current hits on YouTube. But they now write, perform and produce their own materials.

Here is the area where 5SOS is different from 1D. Truth to tell, all that they really have in common is youth and a young following made up mostly of girls. 1D is a song and dance band like N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys, while 5SOS is like, dare I say it, the Beatles? Or to be sane or down to earth about it, maybe Green Day or My Chemical Romance.

The album 5 Seconds Of Summer was the biggest debut release by an Australian band and the biggest selling by a new artist in 2014. It also made No. 1 in 76 countries on iTunes. Tickets to the band’s Rock With Your Socks Out US tour last summer sold out a year before. And you can expect the next one supporting Sounds Good Feels Good to be even bigger. I heard that this will be a world tour that will include a show at the Mall of Asia Arena in March 2016.

And what will the audience get to hear 5SOS perform in that show? A line-up of great songs. These guys are very young and only on their second album but Sounds Good Feels Good very clearly shows a potential for greatness. They are still learning the ropes but it sounds like this. Amazing! There is such coherence and a surprising maturity in the music. I do not know if this was intentional or if it just happened. It is all grown-up now and reaching for other markets. They even had the London Symphony Orchestra playing the strings.

It is also very evident from the entirety of the album that the band took steps to distance itself from the boy band image they gained when they toured with 1D. So, no cutesy themes here about teen crushes and some cuts are on the dark side. They succeeded very well. Sounds Good Feels Good is fun and punk but very melodic with well-written themes.

Singles are She’s Kinda Hot and Hey Everybody but I see those as merely promo tools to trumpet the arrival of the album. Sounds Good Feels Good should be heard in its entirety. It should be one cut after another until you get to that brilliant medley of Outer Space and Carry On at the end, which effectively seals 5SOS’ reputation as a talented band with a future. Can you imagine what they will sound like by the fifth or sixth album?

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