Album Review: "CALM" by Five Seconds of Summer
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5 Seconds of Summer have released their fourth studio album in the midst of other popular album releases from artists such as The Weeknd, Childish Gambino, Niall Horan and Dua Lipa. The album is titled “CALM,” and the members of the Australian pop-rock band are Calum Hood, Michael Clifford, Ashton Irwin and Luke Hemmings. The band has elevated from creating YouTube videos in Sydney as teenagers and touring with One Direction to developing a massive international fanbase with radio-hit songs. 

“CALM” was released on March 27, including 12 tracks in total. While 5 Seconds of Summer may have started their musical journey heavily influenced by rock and roll, their sound has definitely transitioned as the years have rolled by. “CALM” is ultimately pop-rock in nature, with an emphasis on pop music. Since their roots, the band has also shifted its dynamic by shifting Luke Hemmings to the position of frontman and lead singer. This change occurred with the band’s third studio album, “Youngblood.” Previously, all four members of the group contributed solo verses to their music, but now the rest of the members primarily contribute vocally to the choruses, and this is apparent on “CALM.” However, all four members contribute to song-writing and instrumentals. 

“CALM” starts off with a bang with the song “Red Desert” and boldly displays the band’s harmonies paired with a catchy beat. The song successfully captures the attention of the listener. The second track, “No Shame” is a typical but cheeky poke at the absurdity of fame and fortune. While the band may be making fun of their celebrity status, the song has a bouncy rhythm that is sure to get stuck in listeners’ heads. The trend of infectious beats continues in the track titled “Not In The Same Way.” This song explores the beginning stages of a relationship, and the chorus has a back-and-forth feel that mirrors the theme of the song in a moment of musical genius. 

However, in an album riddled with head-banging bops, “CALM” is not without its mellow and more emotional songs. Tracks such as “Wildflower,” “Lover of Mine” and “Thin White Lies” offer a more earnest side of the band. In “Lover of Mine,” Luke sings, “I’ll never give you away / ‘Cause I already made that mistake / If my name never fell off your lips again / I know it’d be such a shame / When I take a look at my life and all of my crimes / You’re the only thing that I think I got right.” The lyrics are sincere and full of yearning, and a similar track on the album is “Lonely Heart.” 

“Best Years” and “High” are even more subdued. “Best Years” is the definite ballad on “CALM,” with lyrics such as “You’ve got a million reasons to hesitate / But darling, the future’s better than yesterday / I wasted so much time on people that reminded me of you / Gave you a million reasons to walk away” in the first verse. Even in the highs of tracks such as “Teeth” and “No Shame,” the band reminds listeners they still go through rough patches. 

5 Seconds of Summer are no strangers to radio hits, and “CALM” includes several. “Easier” was the first single off of the record, and it quickly climbed the charts. “Teeth” is a raunchy track, and the single was featured in the third series of the popular Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” Other singles on the album are “No Shame,” “Old Me” and “Wildflower.” 

Since their origin, 5 Seconds of Summer have developed and experienced a lot, and they chronicle their growth in “Old Me.” As Luke sings “Shout out to the old me and everything you showed me / Glad you didn’t listen when the world was trying to slow me,” the band admits that they have made mistakes, but that they have also learned from those mistakes. 5 Seconds of Summer certainly tell the world that they still love to have fun on “CALM,” but that they have also grown up. Dare I say, the band has matured since the days where they sang about American Apparel underwear. 

About The Author

Rukayah Hussein

Hi, I'm Rukayah! I'm a transfer to UIUC and currently studying English and minoring in Psychology. I joined Buzz and The Daily Illini in August 2019, and I enjoy writing about the movies that I love and books I'm reading. When I'm not studying or writing, I am usually listening to a true crime podcast and drinking tea.

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