BY Katie Vicary

Among the chaos of today, CALM delivers a beautiful mix of new sounds, insightful lyrics and songs that won’t fail to pull you in.

After the success of third album, Youngblood, 5 Seconds of Summer or 5SOS are back with a brand-new album, CALM. As Youngblood officially led them away from their pop-punk roots and into a more experimental, genre blended sound, they are now able to take that one step further with their new album. With each release, 5SOS are constantly improving and honing their sound as they grow alongside their music. This is evident if you listen to the difference in sound, lyrics and overall quality of their earlier songs compared to recent releases.

The album opens with upbeat and explosive songs, starting with ‘Red Desert’. The song pulls us in with a semi-acapella introduction creating an arena show atmosphere. The vocals are soon accompanied by the rhythm section, which picks up the pace and prepares us for an explosive chorus. ‘Red Desert’ is a perfect opener, it prepares us for what’s to come as this album presents new sounds and tricks never used before. The energy is kept up with ‘No Shame’. Immediately you can hear the difference in sounds as we are presented with a more 80’s pop style of song. The boys discuss society’s infatuation with attention, fame and social media – not pointing at any one person but everyone, themselves included.

‘Old Me’ has us looking back to the boys' past mistakes, laid out over a minimal instrumental track. We are then hit with two familiar singles released back in 2019, ‘Easier’ and ‘Teeth’. Both songs gave fans an idea of what they should expect from this new album without giving it all away. ‘Easier’ spotlights lead singer, Luke Hemming’s powerful falsettos over a minimal synth track. In contrast, 'Teeth' is gritty, bass heavy and pulls you in.

Separating itself from the first five songs on the album, ‘Wildflower’ shows us the lighter side of 5SOS, full of bright synth sounds and starring Calum Hood as lead vocal. ‘Wildflower’ is one track you definitely won’t be able to sit still for.

‘Best Years’ marks the second half of the album, a sad but heart-warming ballad whose perfect blend of lyrics and sonic quality causes you to feel the same emotions they do. Two songs which also discuss love, one unrequited and one past, are ‘Not in the Same Way’ and ‘Lover of Mine’. ‘Lover of Mine’ starts simple with a piano but soon builds with a strong rhythm section to create a thick texture and beautifully reminiscent song.

The last three songs on the album finish the musical journey perfectly, a mix of darker themes, minimal verses and explosive chorus. The line ‘I don’t think I like me anymore’ taken from ‘Thin White Lies’ perfectly captures the song’s essence through its honesty, when you have gotten to a point where you feel like a stranger even to yourself. ‘Lonely Heart’ starts with a mysterious, minimal atmosphere which then builds to an explosive vocal layered chorus which you can’t help but sing along to. The song really showcases their ability to experiment and try new things. The album ends with quirky ‘High’, a self-indulgent song which uses clever and pointed lyrics to create a picture of someone who is being self-centred without releasing. This is all laid on a sparse, almost childish instrumentation – only heightening the lyrics.

CALM is a perfect representation of how far these four boys from Sydney have come, both sonically, lyrically and personally. The album is a great mixture of new sounds, experimentation and old themes fans have grown to love. We can only guess what 5 Seconds of Summer will hit us with next.

Check out the trailer for CALM here:

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