For their second studio album, “Sounds Good Feels Good,” 5 Seconds of Summer decided to do something ballsy: change up their sound. The Aussie four-piece is kicking ass and taking names to prove that they are a punk rock band, not a pop boy band.
Four songs from “Sounds Good Feels Good” were released as singles, including the radio hit “She’s Kinda Hot,” which sets the stage for the greater message of their album by talking about the “new broken scene.” “Jet Black Heart,” the next single released from the album, exemplifies the direction the band is trying to go in now. “Jet Black Heart” plays up the intensity and angst of punk music, mixing in beautiful, vivid lyrics and impressive vocals.
“Money” might be the catchiest of these singles with a windows-down guitar riff and reckless lyrics: “Take my money/ take my keys/ drive this car through the drive-thru please.”
The last of the four singles is “Hey Everybody!” which sounds super similar to Duran Duran’s “Hungry like the Wolf.” However, the message of “Hey Everybody!” differs in that it talks about how unhappy situations are often short-lived.
The more I listen to the album, the more I find that some of the songs are describing college life. The song on the album that probably fits best with this theme is “Permanent Vacation.” It is not only so catchy you’ll be singing this while pretending to read Econ., but the lyrics describe exactly how I feel most of the time, and I imagine you might feel the same: “Situation no motivation/ destination permanent vacation.”
In addition to the more upbeat tunes, there are a lot of emotional songs on Sounds Good Feels Good. “Invisible” is one of these songs. It is at once touching and poignant and relatable asking: “Who am I/ who am I/ when I don’t know myself,” ending with a beautiful, haunting violin solo. Then, the compelling, elegant piano and eerie, scratching violins behind “Broken Home” make the song about dealing with living in a broken home even more emotional. This might be the most emotional song on the album, as it actually brought me to tears.
Even if they are trying to outgrow their boyband status, they still maintain a repertoire of love songs on this album, in addition to their non-love songs. “San Francisco” taps into that feeling of summer nostalgia. It’s a softer song about going back to the summer you had the time of your life, and maybe even had a summer fling. On the other hand “Catch Fire” is a catchy tune about trying to get back the one you let slip away. This one is classic 5SOS with their guitars and drums carrying the lively, powerful vocals. Then “Vapor” comes in with an unexpected, distorted flute-like sound that is really pretty for a song that compares being with someone who is bad for you with doing drugs, and being hopelessly addicted to something that is so obviously toxic to you.
The album as a whole is a strong comeback for 5 Seconds of Summer, marking a real change in the sound of their music. The band has found their sound in powerful vocals, intense guitar riffs with uniquely beautiful orchestral additions and, in particular, has made a home in power ballads, which they do extremely well with.
Tl;dr: This will most definitely be my go-to album for the next month or so, and I’ll probably be both blasting the songs in car and crying along to them while I soldier through my Latin homework.
MOVE gives “Sounds Good Feels Good” four and a half out of five stars.