Jammin with Jess — 5SOS

“Sounds Good Feels Good,” the sophomore album of pop-punk group 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS), was released earlier this month, and though the band doesn’t quite live up to its proclaimed genre, it still has some pretty catchy and heartfelt songs that are worth checking out.

The album starts with the track “Money,” an upbeat pop-punk dance anthem. Though catchy, it leaves a lot to be desired, with cliche themes of rockstar supremacy mind-sets and melodies that feel like they’ve been done a hundred times.

“She’s Kinda Hot” comes next, though, recovering some of the integrity of this band. The punchy guitars are both fun to dance to and play the air guitar to. Its commentary on being the brunt of hate is brilliant, with the uplifting response “but we’re alright, though.”

“Hey Everybody,” the album’s second single, is a narrative about working hard and struggling to make ends meet, but still find ways to have fun and enjoy life. More on the pop rather than punk side, it is still a pretty good song for fans of punk.

“Permanent Vacation” then plays, sucking the punk listener back in, with meaningful and clever lyrics such as “Frustration, desperation / You say I need some kind of medication.” Backed up with decent instrumental components, this stands as one of the best pop-punk tracks of the record as a whole.

“Jet Black Heart,” the album’s fifth song, is a personal favorite. A more emotional piece of dealing with one’s baggage and trying to allow one’s self to be vulnerable, the slow rock ballad is utterly beautiful.

“Catch Fire” is another great slower song that still contains poppy elements. It’s a love song that discusses mistakes made and trying to fix a broken relationship. Overall, a pretty touching song worth listening to again and again.

“Waste the Night” is a mature love song about not wanting “to watch you walk away.” The elementally soft rock musical components are nice, but they feel like something heard before.

“Vapor” is another pop-punk song on the softer side. An enjoyable listen, and adorable love song worth listening to.

“Castaway,” the ninth track, is a catchy heartbreak song. Strong lyrical components mesh well with the soft punk melody: “You walked out and left me stranded / Nothing left but picture frames.”

“Fly Away” is an upbeat pop-punk track, emphasis on the pop. It’s easy to dance to, and would make a great addition to a live set. However, it’s not overtly original. It’s not bad, by any means; it just doesn’t stand out.

“Invisible” is another beautiful slow number. A commentary on feeling lost and alone, its emotional lyrics make this one of the album’s greatest tracks: “Just me and your shadow / And all of my regrets.” The orchestral instrumental background animates the song, giving it a life of its own, reaching out with its trembling hand to grasp at your soul.

“Airplanes,” a pop-punk self-discovery song reminiscent of Mayday Parade’s slower pieces, is another clever and catchy track, and is one of the most enjoyable on the record.

“San Francisco,” the penultimate track, is a slower pop track about reflecting on a lost love. It’s cute, but doesn’t really do anything to make it stand out.

The album closes with “Outer Space / Carry On,” two softer songs meshed together into one track, the former of which describes “running back” to a lover, and the latter claiming that life “is gonna get better.”

Overall, it was a decent album, albeit, one with many cliche themes, both melodically and lyrically. Honestly, though the band claims itself to the pop-punk genre, there are more pop and soft rock sounds than anything. Though these softer elements work for the band’s sound and make these songs beautiful and meaningful, calling one’s self “punk” with these songs seems inappropriate.

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