The Feeling of Falling Upwards: “5SOS5” Album Review

“5SOS5” is an incredible experience that flips reality on its edge by transporting listeners into a world where they can just focus on the music being played rather than the outside world.


Image courtesy of 5 Seconds of Summer Official Website.

Isheeta Krishna, Contributing Writer

Two years after their previous release, alternative pop/rock band 5 Seconds of Summer is back with their 5th studio album “5SOS5”. This project came to life in Joshua Tree National Park, California, a place where the band was able to compose the album and inspire creativity.

Bassist Calum Hood said core songs of the album were written on this trip, such as “COMPLETE MESS,” “Take My Hand” and “Easy For You To Say.” They were able to express themselves freely, exactly how they wanted. 

Lead guitarist Michael Clifford produced most of the songs on this album and said that it was the best way to funnel the band’s ideas on the album without judgment from their creative team. 

The members of 5 Seconds of Summer have put a lot of thought into what they want to convey in their new album. Lead vocalist, Luke Hemmings, and drummer, Ashton Irwin, each put out one solo album during the pandemic that reflected who they are individually.

Some of the songs off “5SOS5” have a similar vibe to the two solo albums and some fans even argue that they would be better suited to those albums. Others would say that some tracks remind them of 5 Second of Summer’s previous albums, such as “Youngblood” or “CALM”. 

However, this is what makes “5SOS5” dynamic and moving, as it seems that the album is one piece of music that reflects 5 Seconds of Summer perfectly. The album is a reflection of the band as a whole and conveys the best image of who the band is. The blend of different music styles shows how they have matured over the past 10 years. 

“5SOS5” is an incredible experience that flips reality on its edge by transporting listeners into a world where they can just focus on the music being played rather than the outside world. They introduce a brighter tone that was a change of pace for the band and keeps the grungy, pop-punk feel that has been around since 2014. 

The challenges the band faced in the early years of the band have helped them grow into the people they are today. We can see them express that in their music. 5SOS5 has a wide variety of songs that make us dance in our rooms one minute, and cry with emotion the next.

“COMPLETE MESS” was the first track released for the album as a single. It set the vibe and the tone for the album as a whole, and something that we have never heard from the band before. 

It was a pleasant surprise for fans back in March. The bassline, in the beginning, has us hooked for the rest of the song, which builds up as the song continues. 

“Take My Hand,” “Me Myself & I,” and “BLENDER” were released shortly after. These tracks pay homage to the iconic 5 Seconds of Summer sound that long-term listeners can recognize, making them extremely addictive. The isolated heavy bass, the electric guitar, and the build-up mimic sounds coming from artists like “Youngblood” or “CALM”. The combination of these tracks contributed to the strong anticipation to hear more.

“Emotions,” “Moodswings,” and “Older” bring an acoustic-sounding element to the table,  reminiscent of Luke Hemming’s album “When Facing the Things We Turn Away From”. The emphasized piano and acoustic guitar parts compose a delicate and personal sound to the songs. As a listener, these are the songs that slow the album down from the face-paced electric guitar and heavy bass drum line used in earlier tracks.

The softer acoustics convey power, forcing the listener to pay closer attention to the content of the lyrics. Personally, this allowed me to take a moment and reflect on how my life connects to the song, and normalize what I am feeling.

For instance, in “Moodswings,” the lyric “I know my mood’s been swingin’ all day / Weaponised words can get in the way,” relates to my daily swinging mood that puts me on autopilot making it hard to have a conversation with others.

To celebrate the release of “5SOS5”, the band hosted a live event, where they performed “Caramel,” “CAROUSEL,” and “Bad Omens,” three new songs that no one had heard yet. They called it The Feeling of Falling Upward.

I was instantly obsessed with the elaborative instrumental breaks. These interludes convey emotion through musical expression without the use of lyrics, something the band mainly focused on for this project.

They looked like they were having the time of their lives on stage. The instrumentals send chills down my spine as the chords line up perfectly and everything meshes together in harmony. I know they will have such a blast performing their music live.

I’ve had “Red Line,” “Bleach,” and “You Don’t Go To Parties,” on repeat for hours. These tracks are all stylistically different, but make me feel at peace through the powerful instrumentation. These songs have strong vocals and instrumentals that feel personal and feel like they created the perfect ear candy recipe. 

“Flatline” is the most dynamic song on the album. The darker-sounding verses and a light bubble-gummy pop chorus contrast it perfectly with the rest of the music that is found on “5SOS5”. The song definitely sounds like something 5SOS would’ve released in 2018. 

“Bloodhound” and “TEARS!” also contrast the rest of the music on the album and add character. However, these songs still feel like they belong despite the stylistic change. These three tracks remind me of Ashton Irwin’s solo project “Superbloom” and keep the darker side of 5 Seconds of Summer alive.

“Best Friends,” “HAZE,” and “Easy For You To Say” are lighthearted songs that help the album enhance its bright feel. They sound free and provide an exciting dynamic, as they are in a major key whereas the other songs are predominantly in the minor key. 

The tracks add to the pop/punk feel of the album, as there are elements of the older 5SOS mixed in. I can always count on these tracks to lift my spirits when I’m down. 

In hindsight, taking a trip to Joshua Tree National Park seemed like an excellent experience for the band. They were able to create a masterpiece by themselves without any pressure from their team or fans. I was blown away as I was listening to “5SOS5” as it felt like every song resonated with me. 

They were able to have full control of what “5SOS5” wanted to feel like. They knew exactly what they wanted to sound like and how to make it the best album yet. They’ve collectively stated that this is the “truest version of 5SOS.”

“‘5SOS5’ is comprised of four guys trying to express the way they feel,” says drummer  Ashton Irwin. That feels true as they pour out every emotion they could into the album and were able to make it as authentic as possible. Guitarist Michael Clifford states that “5SOS5” is a phenomenal album. He adds to that and says, “If you are a fan of the band in any way, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the best 5SOS album.” It really is a phenomenal album filled with impact and emotion, and one that I will constantly play on repeat. It is truly a “feeling of falling upwards.”