Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer is fueling up for their third full-length album, the follow-up to 2015’s stellar Sounds Good, Feels Good. (Click here to read our full review of Sounds Good, Feels Good.) The boys have been teasing the process on social media for months now, claiming to be writing from time to time, but lately, the results are starting to seem more tangible. So what can we expect on this new long-player?
5SOS have cemented themselves as an upbeat pop rock band with some darker moments as well. The monumental hit “She Looks So Perfect” undoubtedly put the four-piece on the map with its international success and summertime charm, and the heartfelt “Amnesia” proved their more emotional side. Before that worldwide fame, 5SOS originally started out uploading humble covers to YouTube, everything from Mike Posner and Ed Sheeran to All Time Low and A Day to Remember. The unit had a rock edge to them but a pop sensibility and boy band image that made them easily accessible to a large mainstream audience, capturing fans on both ends of the spectrum. Due to their mainly female fanbase and energetic, poppy songwriting, 5SOS was faced with the issue of breaking out of that boy band label. They play their own instruments, write their own songs, and their work is dominated by distorted guitars and crisp drumming, all things that set them apart from the typical boy band mold.
Their self-titled debut album was unleashed in 2014 on the cusp of the boys transitioning from their teenage years into early adulthood, so 2015’s Sounds Good, Feels Good exhibited remarkable growth and maturation in both lyrical content and musicianship, even if releasing just one year after its predecessor. However, many critics judged the band for relying too heavily on their influences, like Green Day, blink-182, and All Time Low, among others. A number of their songs have actually been co-written with their icons, like Alex Gaskarth, Deryck Whibley, Roy Stride, and the Madden brothers, and John Feldmann has produced all of their projects to date. In their entire discography of ~70 songs, only 2 have no credited input from the boys: “Amnesia” and “Girls Talk Boys.” After releasing the latter for the 2016 Ghostbusters movie, their listeners were curious to see what direction the group would be heading in for their third LP. “Girls Talk Boys” was groovy, funky, and irresistibly catchy, but it didn’t exactly sound like a 5SOS song. It was not a bad track by any means, but it certainly put the band at a crossroads for where they could carry their upcoming style. Of course, “Girls Talk Boys” could have just been a departure from their usual timbre to fit the bill of the movie soundtrack considering the Ghostbusters theme song is known for its funky groove.
Yesterday, we finally got a hint at what may be to come. Michael Clifford posted this photo on Instagram which views the band with Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub. The caption reads: “creating magic with these dudes has been an incredible experience. so grateful to them for taking us on and helping us create something amazing ❤️.” So what can we infer from this interaction? 5SOS has worked with outside writers before, but never to this caliber. Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub are the songwriters to thank for some of the biggest hits of the 2010s, like One Direction’s colossal singles “What Makes You Beautiful,” “One Thing,” “Kiss You,” and “Live While We’re Young,” Nicki Minaj’s “Pound the Alarm” and “Starships,” and also songs from massive acts like Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Avicii, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ellie Goulding, Tiesto, The Vamps, and Madonna. Rami Yacoub has also worked with Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, P!nk, *NSYNC, Enrique Iglesias, DNCE, Cher Lloyd, The Wanted, and Bon Jovi, and co-produced the landmark “… Baby One More Time” for Britney Spears. What does this mean for 5SOS?
From such an impressive catalog, Carl Falk and Rami could have just helped 5SOS write the biggest song(s) of their career for all we know. 5SOS could be moving in a more pop direction from the looks of it, but Falk claims his favorite instrument is the guitar and he tries to “always have guitar on [his] songs, almost like a trademark.” Maybe 5SOS and Falk are a match made in heaven. 5SOS will more than likely not give up their instruments any time soon, and with a guitar-savvy songwriter, this next album could have some of their best and most successful material to date. (Sounds Good, Feels Good did not warrant the mainstream attention that its antecedent received, so the record label may possibly be compensating for that by pairing the boys with Falk and Rami.) From all this information, fans can probably expect some songs similar to their debut and numerous cuts from their sophomore effort: buoyant pop rock with catchy melodies and radio-ready hooks. The boys will more than likely stick to their strings, so there’s not much to fret. (No pun intended.) We can trust 5SOS to deliver another outstanding album, possibly even their best to date. For those of us who appreciate the band’s rockier side, it may seem like the end of the world to see them working with such pop-oriented songwriters, but I’m fairly positive we won’t see them giving up their rock vantage at this point in their career, if ever. Of course, we have not seen what other songwriters have contributed to the project and the destined style the band has in mind, so much of this is quite early to call. Nonetheless, the future looks extremely bright for the Australian four-piece and we can assuredly remain optimistic and excited for this upcoming full-length, and keep in mind that this is all plainly speculation.
What are your thoughts and contemplation on the approaching release? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet at us on Twitter @AltColumnist!