Album evaluation – 5 Seconds Of summer

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More about: 5 Seconds Of Summer

Australian quartet 5 Seconds of Summer’s fourth studio album – and follow-up to 2018’s Youngblood – CALM has been a much-anticipated offering.

About Review:

Album Review: 5 Seconds Of Summer

About Seconds
The second (symbol: s, abbreviation: sec) is the base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI), commonly understood and historically defined as ​1⁄86400 of a day – this factor derived from the division of the day first into 24 hours, then to 60 minutes and finally to 60 seconds each. Analog clocks and watches often have sixty tick marks on their faces, representing seconds (and minutes), and a “second hand” to mark the passage of time in seconds. Digital clocks and watches often have a two-digit seconds counter. The second is also part of several other units of measurement like meters per second for velocity, meters per second per second for acceleration, and cycles per second for frequency.
Although the historical definition of the unit was based on this division of the Earth’s rotation cycle, the formal definition in the International System of Units (SI) is a much steadier timekeeper: it is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the caesium frequency ∆νCs, the unperturbed ground-state hyperfine transition frequency of the caesium-133 atom, to be 9192631770 when expressed in the unit Hz, which is equal to s−1.
Because the Earth’s rotation varies and is also slowing ever so slightly, a leap second is periodically added to clock time to keep clocks in sync with Earth’s rotation.
Multiples of seconds are usually counted in hours and minutes. Fractions of a second are usually counted in tenths or hundredths. In scientific work, small fractions of a second are counted in milliseconds (thousandths), microseconds (millionths), nanoseconds (billionths), and sometimes smaller units of a second. An everyday experience with small fractions of a second is a 1-gigahertz microprocessor which has a cycle time of 1 nanosecond. Camera shutter speeds are often expressed in fractions of a second, such as ​1⁄30 second or ​1⁄1000 second.
Sexagesimal divisions of the day from a calendar based on astronomical observation have existed since the third millennium BC, though they were not seconds as we know them today. Small divisions of time could not be measured back then, so such divisions were mathematically derived. The first timekeepers that could count seconds accurately were pendulum clocks invented in the 17th century. Starting in the 1950s, atomic clocks became better timekeepers than earth’s rotation, and they continue to set the standard today.

Opening with the groovy, anthemic ‘Red Desert’, the album is set up for bigger and better things, before the radio-friendly soundscape of latest single ‘No Shame’ highlights the foursome’s ability to layer explosive instrumentals over meaningful lyrics and raw stories. 

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The album’s title is an acronym of the member’s first names; Calum, Ashton, Luke and Michael, and the message of the album seems suitably personal if tracks such as the retrospective ‘Old Me’ are anything to go by. 

The lead single, ‘Easier’ conveys electro-influenced melodic flair, and follow-up single ‘Teeth’ grapples with a grungy, rock-tinged delivery and a catchy chorus, making for undeniable highlights on this 12-track production. Set back-to-back, these tracks cement the quartet’s sonic range before ‘ Wildflower’ comes through at the halfway point, as the most repeat-worthy pop offering on the record. 

From there on, the album shifts from catchy arrangements to fluid instrumental setups. Starting with the balladeering ‘Best Years’ and piano-led ‘Lover Of Mine’, followed by the angst-ridden ‘Thin White Lies’ and slow-burn, vocal-centric ‘Lonely Heart’. 

Split into two distinct, yet cohesive, sections of music that are authentically 5SOS, the album is a look into the journey of four young boys growing up and getting pulled into the addictive power of fame – for example, the self-reflective closing track ‘High’.

As CALM comes to an end and the final notes of the song peter out, we’re left with a sense of fulfilment, peace and unsurprisingly an overwhelming feeling of calmness. It’s not without some kinks though – among the depth of well-made music lie forgettable tracks such as ‘Not In The Same Way’; there’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nothing particularly impressive either.

Despite that niggling urge to skip the odd mediocre track, the desire to play beauties like ‘High’ on loop wins in the end and CALM stands on a pedestal of near-perfection pop. 

CALM is released on 27 March 2020 via Polydor Records. 

More about: 5 Seconds Of Summer