12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Welcome to the new era of 5 Seconds of Summer, bigger than the last. The Australian band has had two lives: First came the boy-band-adjacent pop-punk of their adolescence spent opening up for One Direction at stadiums worldwide (2014’s self-titled debut LP and 2015’s Sounds Good Feels Good). Then they disappeared for two years, became adults, and reemerged as one of the biggest bands on the planet—that’s 2018’s Youngblood and their expansive fourth full-length release, CALM, named after its members Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin, Luke Hemmings, and Michael Clifford. Gone are the days of their sprightly palm-muted power chords—this is 5SOS 2.0, a quartet of virtuosic musicians enthusiastically traversing pop and classic rock, drawing influence from ’70s reveries (“Red Desert”), New Order-esque ’80s synthpop (“Teeth”), and mainstream industrial rock (“Easier”). “It’s a coming-of-age album,” singer Luke Hemmings tells Apple Music. “We found our stride and just ran with it.” Growing up sounds cohesive and chaotic, like incisive cultural commentary (“No Shame”), sanguine production (“Best Years”), and hooky vocal vibrato (“Not in the Same Way”). Here, Hemmings breaks down each track on CALM, and how its creation was anything but. “Everyone makes mistakes in their twenties, and this [record] captures that in a pretty honest way,” he says. “For better or worse.”

Red Desert
“We did this cover of ‘Killer Queen’ by Queen before we wrote this song. We'd sing a harmony all together and do it eight times, then the next harmony all together in the booth eight times, building these huge gang vocals like they would. I think that opened our eyes to what we could do vocally as a group. We wanted to show that we all sing, but we can do it in a way that's different from when we were younger—more of an Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash way, those big rock harmonies.”

No Shame
“I think we made it clear that although it is kind of a snapshot of how we see society and how a lot of people can see it, that we're all a part of it and we're not pointing a finger at people. Everything is online.”

Old Me
“That song, lyrically, it’s about owning mistakes and moving forward with your life and understanding that you're not the person that you were when you were younger, but also you have to do these things and make mistakes to move forward and grow as a person.”

Easier
“We [wrote] with Andrew Watt, Ali Tamposi, Ryan Tedder, and Charlie Puth. This song was one of the earlier ones, [written] before we started the album. We were figuring out what we wanted to do. We were very into the New Wave stuff, that Nine Inch Nails stuff. This was the first stepping stone.”

Teeth
“I love that song. It has that driving kick and that bass; we tried to make a song without having a snare. It has a few in it, but it's mainly kick and it's my breath doing all of the other beats. Tom Morello plays the guitar solo at the end. He’s almost imitating a snare with his guitar.”

Wildflower
“This is the lighter side of the album. It’s a step forward for us in that it's not so dark—we can do this big stadium vocal but also have it be a big, positive, euphoric anthem and not be lame.”

Best Years
“The first demo was just one guitar and my vocal. Me and Ryan [Tedder] wrote a bulk with the vocals on our own, and then we had The Edge from U2 play the guitar on the bridge. That was awesome. The song is a beautiful love note—something I felt I needed to get off my chest. That’s the best way songwriting can be: cathartic.”

Not in the Same Way
“This song came together in 30 minutes, except for the bridge. It was one of the most exciting in the room to write; it was almost like we couldn’t keep up with how quickly it was going. It’s a chaotic love story of the early days in a relationship and trying to figure out your counterpart.”

Lover of Mine
“I was trying to go for a Jeff Buckley vibe on this. I actually wrote this with my girlfriend [Sierra Deaton] and then I took it into the studio. We finished it there with everyone else.”

Thin White Lies
“I love the groove in the chorus. We were going for a Cure thing on the guitar in the verses. My favorite lyric in it is ‘I don’t think I like me anymore.’ It’s so honest, when you get to a point that you feel like a stranger to yourself—I like how this song captures that moment.”

Lonely Heart
“The song's really beautiful. I like the dancing metaphor in some of the verses. It kind of sounds like Depeche Mode in the chorus, which I like. It’s all pretty New Wave.”

High
“Songwriting in itself is very selfish, and this song in particular, the lyric [‘I hope you think of me high/I hope you think of me highly’] is very clever and very self-involved. I love the honesty. That's why I wanted to close the album with it. I had these chords in my head; I really wanted a Beatles-esque song with quirky chords. I like how narcissistic it is, but in such a sweet and unassuming way.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Welcome to the new era of 5 Seconds of Summer, bigger than the last. The Australian band has had two lives: First came the boy-band-adjacent pop-punk of their adolescence spent opening up for One Direction at stadiums worldwide (2014’s self-titled debut LP and 2015’s Sounds Good Feels Good). Then they disappeared for two years, became adults, and reemerged as one of the biggest bands on the planet—that’s 2018’s Youngblood and their expansive fourth full-length release, CALM, named after its members Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin, Luke Hemmings, and Michael Clifford. Gone are the days of their sprightly palm-muted power chords—this is 5SOS 2.0, a quartet of virtuosic musicians enthusiastically traversing pop and classic rock, drawing influence from ’70s reveries (“Red Desert”), New Order-esque ’80s synthpop (“Teeth”), and mainstream industrial rock (“Easier”). “It’s a coming-of-age album,” singer Luke Hemmings tells Apple Music. “We found our stride and just ran with it.” Growing up sounds cohesive and chaotic, like incisive cultural commentary (“No Shame”), sanguine production (“Best Years”), and hooky vocal vibrato (“Not in the Same Way”). Here, Hemmings breaks down each track on CALM, and how its creation was anything but. “Everyone makes mistakes in their twenties, and this [record] captures that in a pretty honest way,” he says. “For better or worse.”

Red Desert
“We did this cover of ‘Killer Queen’ by Queen before we wrote this song. We'd sing a harmony all together and do it eight times, then the next harmony all together in the booth eight times, building these huge gang vocals like they would. I think that opened our eyes to what we could do vocally as a group. We wanted to show that we all sing, but we can do it in a way that's different from when we were younger—more of an Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash way, those big rock harmonies.”

No Shame
“I think we made it clear that although it is kind of a snapshot of how we see society and how a lot of people can see it, that we're all a part of it and we're not pointing a finger at people. Everything is online.”

Old Me
“That song, lyrically, it’s about owning mistakes and moving forward with your life and understanding that you're not the person that you were when you were younger, but also you have to do these things and make mistakes to move forward and grow as a person.”

Easier
“We [wrote] with Andrew Watt, Ali Tamposi, Ryan Tedder, and Charlie Puth. This song was one of the earlier ones, [written] before we started the album. We were figuring out what we wanted to do. We were very into the New Wave stuff, that Nine Inch Nails stuff. This was the first stepping stone.”

Teeth
“I love that song. It has that driving kick and that bass; we tried to make a song without having a snare. It has a few in it, but it's mainly kick and it's my breath doing all of the other beats. Tom Morello plays the guitar solo at the end. He’s almost imitating a snare with his guitar.”

Wildflower
“This is the lighter side of the album. It’s a step forward for us in that it's not so dark—we can do this big stadium vocal but also have it be a big, positive, euphoric anthem and not be lame.”

Best Years
“The first demo was just one guitar and my vocal. Me and Ryan [Tedder] wrote a bulk with the vocals on our own, and then we had The Edge from U2 play the guitar on the bridge. That was awesome. The song is a beautiful love note—something I felt I needed to get off my chest. That’s the best way songwriting can be: cathartic.”

Not in the Same Way
“This song came together in 30 minutes, except for the bridge. It was one of the most exciting in the room to write; it was almost like we couldn’t keep up with how quickly it was going. It’s a chaotic love story of the early days in a relationship and trying to figure out your counterpart.”

Lover of Mine
“I was trying to go for a Jeff Buckley vibe on this. I actually wrote this with my girlfriend [Sierra Deaton] and then I took it into the studio. We finished it there with everyone else.”

Thin White Lies
“I love the groove in the chorus. We were going for a Cure thing on the guitar in the verses. My favorite lyric in it is ‘I don’t think I like me anymore.’ It’s so honest, when you get to a point that you feel like a stranger to yourself—I like how this song captures that moment.”

Lonely Heart
“The song's really beautiful. I like the dancing metaphor in some of the verses. It kind of sounds like Depeche Mode in the chorus, which I like. It’s all pretty New Wave.”

High
“Songwriting in itself is very selfish, and this song in particular, the lyric [‘I hope you think of me high/I hope you think of me highly’] is very clever and very self-involved. I love the honesty. That's why I wanted to close the album with it. I had these chords in my head; I really wanted a Beatles-esque song with quirky chords. I like how narcissistic it is, but in such a sweet and unassuming way.”

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