If you have no idea who 5 Seconds of Summer are, you’d be forgiven, especially if you’re not a teenage girl. 5SOS, as they’re known to fans (duh), is the latest boy band to take over the music scene on a global scale. They’re from Australia, they’re good-looking, and their songs are catchy as hell. And first thing’s first, they really don’t want to be considered a “boy band” anymore.
5SOS – pronounced “five sauce” – first hit North America with their Stars, Stripes, and Maple Syrup Tour in 2014, but they’ve been active in Australia and Europe for much longer. If you don’t think you’ve heard any of their stuff, just listen to “She Looks So Perfect” and you’ll probably decide otherwise. You know the one…
“She looks so perfect standin’ there in my American Apparel underwear,
And I know now, that I’m so down.”
If these guys were just another One Direction or wannabe NSYNC, maybe we wouldn’t write a blog post about them (or maybe we would, who knows?). But 5 Seconds of Summer isn’t as easy to make jokes about. They’re a little edgier than your typical boy band. They’ve got a style reminiscent of those punk bands we loved in high school. You know, the guys with the punky-emo attitudes and skater style. But 5SOS has dreamy looks and catchy lyrics that attract a young female crowd, unlike say, Blink 182, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, or Fall Out Boy. (Okay, okay, Rolling Stone compares them to Green Day, but you get the comparison I’m making here.)
Punk-pop Australian 5SOS is different than the likes of other boy bands (even though they are, uh, technically a boy band) because they can actually play guitars and they write a good amount of their own music. The guys lament that it’s been an uphill battle to shed their teen heartthrob image and prove to people that they’re legit in the music world. According to drummer Ashton Irwin back in 2015, “Seventy-five percent of our lives is [spent] proving we’re a real band. We don’t want to just be, like, for girls. We want to be for everyone.”
(It probably doesn’t help that they opened for One Direction in 2013, 2014, and 2015. But hey, that’s how they got their big break and probably the reason they’ve built such a loyal, uh, exuberant fan base.)
With the release of their latest album Youngblood on June 15th, it’s clear the boys are trying to push things in a darker, moodier direction with electro-pop and acoustic songs, but their catchiness still shines through. More pop, less punk, it seems the quartet is going for something that appeals to a bigger audience. They’ve released a couple singles from the album this year, including “Want You Back” and the title track “Youngblood.” Some critics say 5SOS has lost that spunky, snotty young attitude that made them so damn likable in the first place. It has been a couple years since they released anything new, and they’ve grown up a bit in the interim. This album alludes to the hard-partying lifestyle, touring, and some of the loneliness and exhaustion that comes from it all.
But they’re hitting the road again and 5SOS fans are pumped! The band has released their North American dates for the Meet You There Tour, which starts in August and takes them all up and down the East Coast, across the country, and into Toronto. They’re hitting cities around Australia and Japan before heading to the USA. And after they finish with us, they’re flying to the UK and Europe. They’ve got a big year ahead.
As for their live shows, 5SOs doesn’t perform like the typical boy band so they’ve got that going for them. They don’t have choreographed dance moves and they don’t pander to the crowd by flirting or bantering. They’re just four dudes playing instruments and rocking out. They do each have their own “personality” that’s reflected in their styles and fashion though. You know: skater boy, hot alpha dude, bassist rock god, etc… (Sorry, add another tally mark to the “boy band” column.)
Does it really matter though? They’re popular as hell. 5SOS has come a long way since posting covers on YouTube and looking up to their high school punk rock heroes who they’ve now safely eclipsed in fame. Their record label pays for them to stay in a Beverly Hills mansions to write albums and throw parties. They hang out with Nick Jonas and go to the same parties as Justin Bieber and The Weeknd. 5SOS has also had the chance to team up and write with Good Charlotte, one of their biggest inspirations. It’s safe to say they’ve made it.
Maybe dudes will join their fan base eventually. Maybe critics will take them seriously one day. Maybe people will stop calling them a “boy band” after this tour. But if they don’t, who cares? Rolling Stone actually called them “The World’s Hottest Band” in 2015. Whether that’s a double entendre or not, well, you take a guess…