Fans of the Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer have been patiently waiting for the release of new music since their album “Sounds Good, Feels Good” came out in 2015. The boys of 5SOS were so excited for fans to get their hands on “Youngblood” that they released the album a full week early.
Truthfully, upon hearing the album in its entirety I found it largely underwhelming. Most of the songs are good and a few are even catchy enough to nod your head along to, but it seems like this album is a bit cautious in nature compared to the music 5 Seconds of Summer has released in the past. There are few moments of the rock ‘n’ roll or overly upbeat and loud styling they typically produce. A majority of the songs have a pop feel which is a far cry from the punk rock vibe the band claimed to be striving for when they started out.
I had happily listened to and enjoyed the title track and “Want You Back” when they were both released as singles but it seems to me that the band made a mistake by releasing those songs first. Given that they seem to be the best and most blood-pumping songs on the album I had expected more of the songs to be close to those two if not better. At least half of the 16 songs rely of the heavy presence of the beat of drummer Ashton Irwin’s drums to get them to a foot-tapping level. The liveliness of the music lays low and drags along after the first three or four tracks and does not pick up again until about halfway through but only really kicks things in to gear with the third to last track “Monster Among Men”. Several times while I listened, there were strong build ups within the music which disappointingly leveled off each time. However, I will say that the vocals are stellar and smooth from all of the band members. It is very apparent that front man Luke Hemmings is growing in his vocal abilities except in “Woke Up In Japan” in which he seems to stumble over his words and struggle to fully finish pronouncing them.
It feels like the band was trying to hit some kind of mark with their music but they came up short which leaves something to be desired. They delivered two love ballad type songs like the kind every boy band is required to produce at some point; however they both have their drawbacks. As the title seems to predict “Why Won’t You Love” has an annoyingly whiney quality which made me want to skip to the next song without even hearing all of it. The other, “Ghost of You”, is admittedly good but lacks very much originality from your average stereotype of a boy band love song.
The album is laced with themes of unrequited love and longing as well as a few undertones of a sexual nature. The new music presents a very grown up image for the band whose previous music had been about chasing girls and floating through life. This can be seen in “Better Man” when Hemmings sings about how the woman he’s found makes him better than the man he was which depicts commitment and what could be interpreted as real love. It should be noted that 5 Seconds of Summer seems to have pushed aside the innocence that came with their old music to make room for lyrics with implicit messages of being drunk, being high, and one night stands.
Overall, 5 Seconds of Summer’s “Youngblood” album is good but, like I said before, underwhelming. I would listen again if given the option, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to call it “ground-breaking” or “revolutionary” for their careers. The band’s dedicated fan base built it up to an incredible level of hype while the album was being promoted that it didn’t really seem to live up to. Sadly, this isn’t the first time they’ve fostered an underwhelming presence; seeing them live in Philadelphia earlier this year quickly turned in to an unfriendly and unbelievably short show. Because of this I am led to believe that the guys of 5 Seconds of Summer are still trying to regain their footing after having taken time off to write this album and all I can say is I hope they get it back pretty quick.