Sunday, June 14, 2020

Weekend Diversion: 5 Seconds of Summer

5 Seconds of Summer, often styled as 5SOS, is an Australian pop rock band that was formed in 2011 when the members were in their mid teens. Their international break came when they toured with One Direction in 2013, 14, and 15. The media called them a boy band, a label they reject (and with at least some justification, even if only because they all knew each other from a young age, and weren’t manufactured). However, their debut major label single, “She Looks So Perfect”, released in February 2014, might give an idea of why critics called them that (video at the bottom of this post).

The first video of theirs that I saw—and so, the first of their songs I was aware of—was “Lie To Me” (above), which was released in December 2018. I thought the video was good, and the song, too, but frankly I didn’t pay all that much attention to it, and I can’t remember if I’d heard of them before then or not.

In any case, the song hit Number 38 in Australia (Platinum), it didn’t chart in Canada, but it still was certified as Gold. It hit Number 9 in New Zealand, 99 in the UK and didn’t chart in the USA. Hitting the Top 10 in New Zealand may be why the video music channel used to play it so much.

The next song, however, did get my attention:

“Youngblood” was released in April 2018. The thing is, I may have seen the video closer to its release, before I saw “Lie To Me”, but I didn’t realise it was 5SOS because they don’t appear in the video.

I really liked the driving sound of the song and the look of the video (the official video was released in August 2018). Wikipedia sums it up this way: It “tells the story of an elderly couple in their final moments (played by Japanese artists 'JOHNNY' Daigo Yamashita and Misaki Aono), having a flashback of their youth which then dives into the Japanese Rockabilly culture.” However, what the couple experienced was clearly not just a flashback. But maybe that’s just a quibble.

The song was far more commercially successful than “Lie To Me” would become a few months later. The song hit Number 1 in Australia (10x Platinum), 3 in Canada on the Canadian Hot 100 (Platinum), Number 1 in New Zealand (3x Platinum), 4 in the UK (2x Platinum), and in the USA, 7 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (2x Platinum).

The song that really made me pay attention to them—and to realise all the videos I’ve shared so far were the same group—was “Old Me”, released on March 6 of this year, specifically, the Lyric Video:

I loved this song, and I thought the lyric video (released the end of February to promote the song) underscored the song very well. The video music channel blurred out the “naughty” words, but they weren’t bleeped out in the song itself. I think, but don’t know, that it may have been provided that way because different videos treat “naughty” words very differently. In any case, I really liked the whole concept of “shout out to the old me” theme, and I thought using photos of the band members from childhood through their youthful selves to today was a good symbolic way of showing them leaving their past behind.

There is, however, also an official video [WATCH], which was released a few days after the song was. It’s nice enough, but I prefer the lyric video. But, what do I know? The official video has five times the number of views on YouTube.

In any case, the song hit 39 in Australia, 3 in New Zealand, didn’t chart in Canada or the UK, but in the USA it was 3 on Billboard’s “Bubbling Under the Hot 100 Singles” chart and 28 on their “Mainstream Top 40” chart. For whatever that’s worth.

Next up their most recent single, “Wildflower”, released in April of this year:

I like the song well enough,—it’s a good pop song—and as with so many of their other songs, I like they way they mix things up vocally. The song hit 12 in Australia, 8 in New Zealand, and 81 in the UK. It didn’t chart in Canada or the USA.

And finally, their breakthrough single, “She Looks So Perfect”:

It is what it is, I suppose, and it’s fine for what it is. But jeez, they were so young then! The only reason I saw this video at all is that when it returned, the video music channel started playing several 5SOS songs, something they didn’t do in the old version of the channel.

I don’t have complete chart information for this song, but it hit Number One in Australia (Platinum), New Zealand (Gold), and the UK. I’d add that this video has had 263,965,913 views on YouTube. That’s rather a lot.

And that’s some songs by 5 Seconds of Summer that eventually got my attention. At least now I’m more likely to recognise new songs by them when I hear them thanks to that revived video channel. That’s not the first time that’s happened, and probably won’t be the last. At least it gives me things to include in these posts.

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