Aussie pop punk band 5 Seconds of Summer’s self-titled debut album was released last week, and its projected to sell over 250k copies in its first week, and debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Not too shabby for a band doing the outdated—making pop punk a thing again.
Their self-titled album is a great effort—filled with songs that succeed in creating the feeling that fuels fangirls; both nostalgia and invincibility. Plus, the guys share vocal duty and sing odes to American girls (“Mrs All American”) and British girls (English Love Affair) alike, so everyone can freak out over their favorites and pretend they’re singing about them.
(this lyric video of “Amnesia” is more mature than any visual element One Direction has released.)
ON BEING MADE BY ONE DIRECTION
The One Direction fame by association concept is a real thing—you can fight it, spit on it, but it’s true. While 5SOS has its own history pre-One Direction, I’d think it would be 90% less likely that the band would’ve broke the US this quickly. Promotion from One Direction, both from the boys’ tweets and taking 5SOS on two world tours in a row and the resulting friendship have created a whole new fandom branching off of the One Direction fandom. Am I wrong in saying the majority of 5SOS fans were first fans of One Direction? From being presented to a massive audience in a more than favorable light, it’s no question they are an instant favorite, with the solid music to back it up.
5SOS are a stepping stone of band for teens who are ~too cool~ for ~mindless~ pop and need some (safe) grittiness in their music repertoire. The band is a little rockier, a little more mature, but just as funny and awkwardly charming. For some, they have the nostalgia factor—a new pop punk band on Top 40 radio again, wild—for others, they’re a band. A real band with real music with real influences. (they wear vintage band t’s and actually listen to the band!!!!)
It’s difficult for 5SOS to get away from the mentions of One Direction. While this is tiresome and One Direction doesn’t wholly define 5 Seconds of Summer, the influence is too great to ignore—for now, at least. I’m sure this band would find success without One Direction, but we wouldn’t be buying tickets to their own headlining tour right now if not for pictures of them on Harry Styles’ Instagram or opening tour slots. 1D has given 5SOS the greatest gift in the music industry—exposure.
ON BEING CALLED A BOYBAND
Maybe it’s bad timing for 5 Seconds of Summer to gain popularity in a time when every pop band comprised of attractive young men is immediately slapped with the “NEXT BIG BOY BAND???” headline, or maybe that’s why they’re becoming popular now. From a shallow standpoint, it’s easy to call 5SOS a boyband. Despite forming organically, writing their own music and playing their own instruments (an easy argument for fans to point to), the band is largely marketed through their looks and individual personalities. Youth drives their image, and they are proving to be another textbook example of how to get famous through social media.