Ashton Irwin, drummer for 5 Seconds of Summer, proclaimed Sounds Good Feels Good would be “epic gnarly super dope cool awesome titties sweet stuff,” and he was right. Sounds Good Feels Good, 5 Seconds of Summer’s sophomore album, solidifies their place in the pop-punk world.
Endorsed by Alternative Press and bands like All Time Low and Fall Out Boy, 5 Seconds of Summer are no doubt on their way to dominating the pop-punk scene. Though they are seemingly more pop than punk, their collaboration with pop-punk virtuosos All Time Low, Benji and Joel Madden and John Feldmann has no doubt taken them from “the guys who opened for One Direction” to the guys you should take seriously. Compared to their freshman self-titled album, 5 Seconds of Summer sounds more confident and sophisticated this time around. Each song features its own stylistic hallmark trait, whether that be honest lyrics, an unusual vocal shift or a mind-blowing instrumental moment. This, combined with the more evident pop-punk undertones, makes for a pleasing sophomore album.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Sounds Good Feels Good when I first listened to it, but after listening to the album for the fourth time through, I can safely say that it’s low-key amazing. It’s amazing because this 17-track deluxe edition of the album will find mainstream-radio success in a time when pop-punk is a genre of music that most people don’t care about. The only other pop-punk band known to the masses is Fall Out Boy and maybe Panic! At the Disco. 5 Seconds of Summer’s unique position as the new pioneers of pop-punk makes Sounds Good Feels Good not only a relevant album but one that determines the future of an entire music scene.
The best song on the album by far is “Castaway” — this is both the most punk and the most instrumentally and vocally unique track. The rhythm is undoubtedly catchy, and the genre’s standard angst and attitude are more present than ever. The multiple layers of the song add a complexity that you can’t help but listen to on a nonstop loop, making it an all-around high-energy standout song.
In addition to “Castaway,” there are several other unique songs that give Sounds Good Feels Good the solid support it needs to be a game-changing album for the Australian quartet. You can see the band’s punk influences throughout the album, but “Outer Space/Carry On” particularly echoes Green Day’s “Holiday/Boulevard of Broken Dreams” in that the two songs flow together by way of a guitar reverb. While “Outer Space/Carry On” is an example of the band’s growing pop-punk maturity, “Invisible” and “Broken Home” are prime examples of how the band writes about their own experiences with insecurity, depression and anxiety. This is important because mental illness is a problem that plagues all societies around the world, so their music can help others and serve as an anthem for those battling similar issues.
Considering the fact that most pop-punk songs start sounding the same after a while, I’m impressed that Sounds Good Feels Good manages to incorporate a plethora of unique tracks. It helps that various pop-punk artists helped 5 Seconds of Summer write some of their songs; each artist has their own distinct style that influenced their writing. For example, Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low contributed to the upbeat pop-heavy “Catch Fire” while the influence of the Madden brothers, two-fifths of pop-punk band Good Charlotte, can clearly be heard on the album’s first four tracks. Interestingly, the two best songs on the album were written by just members of the band. “Castaway” was written by Hood and Hemmings, while “Jet Black Heart” was solely written by Hood and Clifford. If the two best songs are written by the band, this signals that their future work can only get better. Sounds Good Feels Good is 5 Seconds of Summer’s way of breaking into the pop-punk scene. It’s only a matter of time before they dominate the genre and leave their mark on it and the music industry as a whole.