5 Seconds of Summer - 5 Seconds of Summer (Album Review)

5SOS has kind of stormed onto the scene touting their boy band pop/rock/punk charm on to everyone who wants to and everyone who doesn't want to hear it. The band has been getting more and more hype. With the pop/punk tag attached, a slight rock image, and opening shows for One Direction this band is getting a lot of interest from both the haters and people ready to tear down their One Direction posters in favor of the "boys of summer" 5 Seconds Of Summer.

I reviewed the group’s EP She Looks So Perfect mainly because the band was making some waves and I wanted to offer my opinion on their music and their image. I'll try to shy away from recycling my thoughts about their image too much (if you want to read my review of the EP, my comparison of the band to The Click Five, Rodrick's band in Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, etc.. you can read it: HERE).

As far as the songs go on this, it basically follows the formula of the EP's we've heard from the band. Both title tracks from the EPs "She Looks So Perfect" and "Don't Stop" are the first two songs on the album. "She Looks So Perfect" is basically a watered down version of ultra light pop/punk. Lyrically it's pretty cheesy. As a whole though the song kicks off the album nicely. It's familiar but catchy. The album is basically full of those sugary sweet light pop tunes. It sounds like We The Kings or All Time Low at their lightest. There are some comparisons to One Direction, but 5SOS sounds more like a band and less like a group of vocal performers. It's 12 tracks of that. There’s not much experimentation or variation in sound. If you listen to or have heard the song "She Looks So Perfect" you are getting 12 tracks of songs that sound really similar. That's not to say the album loses steam or the repetition in sound ruins the album. For what it is, the album is done pretty well and the songs are well written enough so that 12 tracks isn't too much.  Various deluxe edition tracks can be found. There are iTunes deluxe tracks, target deluxe tracks, etc...

Now here's a really neat point to make about why this might sound so good song wise. All Time Low frontman Alex Gaskarth, Goldfinger singer/producer John Feldmann, and Good Charlotte's Benji & Joel Madden worked on the album as co-writers. Six of the songs feature one or more of the co-writers I mentioned. Those guys are well known for creating some pretty good sounding pop/punk and having a hand in helping co-write helps the group achieve the sound. That's one thing I really think is neat about the album. They really seem to want to work with the artists that influence them. The band themselves also handle writing duties and are listed as writers on songs as well, but the album does have a heavy list of co-writers. I can't help but think a lot of the co-writers really helped shape some of these songs because there are some heavy similarities in sound. This really sounds a lot like All Time Low during their Nothing Personal era, which to me works pretty good because I really enjoy that album.

Production wise this is super polished. The guitars have a slight rock edge in places. Other than that this is a slick sounding album, which works fine for this type of music. The album artwork basically follows with what we've come to expect from the band's EPs. It’s basically a promo image featuring the band and their "pop/punk light" image: plaid, skinny jeans, a little hair dye, spiked up hair, boots, vans shoes. The band definitely has a certain image portrayed of them. It has a cartoonish looking background and the band's logo written in a style similar to the old school New Found Glory style.

Look, I know the big criticism of this band is that they are about as watered down and far away from anything that should be considered punk. It can be argued that they are boy band pop with just a slight alternative/punk/pop edge. I agree with a lot of that sentiment. I really do. The thing is when I listen to this I think if this were on the radio I would prefer it to some of the awful stuff on the radio. It's not a terrible radio ready album. In fact with the selection of co-writers and some of the people they worked with I think it actually works to a large degree. The co-writers thumbprints are all over this album. That's a huge plus. The band themselves are able to come out competent on the songs. I think in terms of what the band does that this album is a success. If you are a fan of "light pop/punk" super heavy on the pop side then you should be able to find one or two songs that you like. You won't find the scene credit or even some of the depth of some of today’s newer pop/punk bands like The Wonder Years. You'll find some catchy light radio rock. That's what this album is. It succeeds in that. It's just undeniable, to me at least, that the band has succeeded in making a record that fits in that mold nicely.

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