Graphic by Quincey Stewart-Kohr
5 Seconds of Summer’s fourth album was released on March 27th. Two years since the release of their last album, Youngblood, fans have long awaited the release of CALM. The title of the album is an ode to their fans, revealed lead singer Luke Hemmings: “it’s also a nod to our fans who coined this name when we started” (New York Post). Fans created the acronym, containing each member’s name: bassist Calum, drummer Ashton, lead singer Luke, and guitarist Michael.
Since the release of their first album in 2014, 5 Seconds of Summer has dominated the top charts with pop hits such as “She Looks So Perfect,” “Amnesia,” and “Youngblood.” When the first singles for CALM were released, the heavier bass and guitar had fans expecting a more punk-rock album, something the band hinted at for years. I too expected this, but that doesn’t mean I was disappointed when the rest of the album seemed more pop than anything else. Either way, the album brought new and interesting music to the table. Billboard claimed the album to be “the Australian group’s most musically complex project yet.” I couldn’t agree more.
The first singles, “Easier” and “Teeth,” caught my attention. With vocal variation and poetic lyrics, I was excited to see what CALM would bring. As one of my favorite bands, I would be excited no matter what they put out, but the new album’s sound definitely came as a shock. As other songs were released, like “No Shame,” “Old Me,” and “Wildflower,” I could already see the variation in the album’s sound. Personally, I think “Old Me” is one of their best songs yet. It is a beautiful ode to the bands’ younger selves and shows how much they’ve grown as a band over the years. It reflects on the mistakes they made in the past and what they’ve learned from it. Not only do I think everyone can relate to this song, but it reminds people that they can learn from their mistakes. “No Shame” also has a deeper, hidden meaning behind the catchy tune. The song reveals how fame is a double-edged sword. With hints to other celebrities like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and even Jake Paul in the music video, the song and music video are not only entertaining, but full of clues and easter eggs regarding Hollywood. “Wildflower” became a popular song on Tik Tok, when users began to post dancing videos to the song. The band acknowledged this and held a competition to see who could do the best dance over Instagram. “Wildflower” is a very poppy (pun-intended) song, and I regret to say that it’s not my personal favorite. Although it is fun to dance to, the song doesn’t stand out for me.
This album is the shortest one 5 Seconds of Summer has released, with only 12 tracks on the entire album. I don’t want to say I’m disappointed, but I’m used to seeing 16-tracks on an album, like the three before CALM. Regardless, when the release of the album came, I was ecstatic to see what interesting melodies the album would hold. My personal favorites include “Thin White Lies,” “High,” and “Red Desert.” I fell in love with the harmonies and the interesting sounds – a little more synth than I’m used to – and I think it’s safe to declare this my favorite album by 5 Seconds of Summer this far.