Evolution and maturity through 5 Seconds of Summer’s Fourth Studio Album, CALM


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (Alex Goykhman)

Ana Duran

CALM isn’t just a new album that was created to be a chart topper like their previous records, it proves to be a collection of songs to signify the band they have become. 5 Seconds of Summer have chosen to carve a new path, exploring all different routes and not being afraid or being fettered down by their previous works or assumptions of what they should be bringing to the table. 

The first single to be released as the mark of a new era for the band was “Easier.” Produced by Charlie Puth, “Easier” is heavy with drums and showcases front man, Luke Hemmings’ insane vocal range. The biggest downside to this song was that it sounded like every other Charlie Puth song and seems as if the band is doing a cover of one of his songs. This one of the bigger concerns that the band faced with attempts to play around with different sounds. 

As a way to give insight on what a song like “Easier” would sound like live, 5SOS created live from the vault versions of songs which reflect them as a band way more than the original version. This version of “Easier” feels much more authentic to who they are and presents how much they have evolved (Hemmings insane falsettos and Calum Hood’s thick bass lines.)

“No Shame” and “Wildflower” seem to be on the sexier side of things in the album. “No Shame” is a social commentary on vapid beings who only “light up when cameras are flashing” as well as “Diggin’ my grave to get a reaction/ Changin’ my face and calling it fashion” which is calling out those who prefer to receive reactions as a way to stay relevant and the emphasis put on the constant pressure to accommodate physical appearance as a way to reach beauty through societal standards. 

“Wildflower” gives off an early 2000s pop feel showcasing Hood’s killer vocals throughout the entirety of the song. The vocals mixed with a groovy bassline and light percussion make it the perfect summertime song that sets the scene of driving down the coast in a drop top with friends headed down to the beach.

Though 5sos focused on elevating their sound and maturing as a band, they gave a nod to their past on emotion evoking track “Old Me.” While promoting their third album in 2018, Youngblood, the band recognized the reality that they could no longer remain the band they once were as teenagers and in order to progress, they had to change and mature. “Old Me” is an ode to their journey to get to where they are now, acknowledging the fact that they had to “Fuck it up” before they really got to know themselves. The song pairs together lead guitarist, Michael Clifford’s guitar with Irwin’s drumming perfectly, creating a beautiful mesh of nostalgia along with Hemmings’ meaningful lyrics. 

They took the opportunity to make this song one of the album’s lead singles and created a video emphasizing things that got them to where they are now such as their first show at the Annandale Hotel in Australia, touring with One Direction and including snippets of their old videos and photos. 

As a longtime fan, I found myself holding back tears because like many fans, I discovered this band when I was merely 14 and have grown up into the 21-year-old I am along with them.

CALM has made it a priority to focus on things like stunning bass lines, powerful synths and drumming patterns with a hip-hop flow. To juxtapose this, heartfelt ballads “Lover of Mine” and “Best Years” seem to slow things down a bit and focus on some of 5SOS’ strongest lyrical creations as of yet.  

The album is a showcase of the idea of growing up and coming to the realization that you should be creating whatever makes you happy and makes you feel the best. The band has toyed around with the idea of creating music that shows who they are as mature adults on Youngblood but CALM exhibits how they created a project with no boundaries to fetter them down. No two tracks are the same, they all stand alone with a refreshing uniqueness making it easy to listen to the album without having to follow a specific order. 

“High,” the albums closing track is a beautifully haunting song about accepting the fact that it is time to move on. Hemmings sings “I need to stop letting me down” implying that it is time to focus on his own happiness. Backed with the rest of the band’s beautiful harmonies meshing together to create a Beatles-esque track that explains where they are at as a band, focusing on their happiness and finally creating what they want to create.