Cover image for Calm (CD)
Title:
Calm (CD)
Corporate Author:
Publication Information:
[United States] : Interscope Records, 2020.
Physical Description:
1 sound disc : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Contents:
Red desert No shame Old me Easier Teeth Wildflower Best years Not in the same way Lover of mine Thin white lies Lonely heart High.
Reading Level:
RIAA rating: PA; Parental Advisory.
Summary:
In 2018, 5 Seconds of Summer saw their album Youngblood become their third consecutive release to debut at number one on the Billboard Top 200. Now they are back with the follow-up, which includes the singles No Shame; Old Me; and Teeth.

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Summary

Summary

Having long ago transitioned away from their early punk-influenced boy band sound, Australia's 5 Seconds of Summer complete their transformation into a sophisticated pop outfit with 2020's ambitious Calm. Where 2018's Youngblood found the five-member outfit embracing a dance-oriented vibe, Calm finds them moving a step further and augmenting their hooky pop with strings, Latin rhythms, and light, '90s industrial goth elements a a Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. It's a sound most clearly delineated on cuts like "No Shame" and "Teeth," where throbbing, effects-soaked basslines rub up against pulsing drum-machine beats and shimmering guitar arpeggios. Perhaps most evocative is "Easier," a slow-burn club banger that, not surprisingly, sounds like Nine Inch Nails' "Animal" grafted onto a Maroon 5 song. However, even with the alt-rock intimations, much of the band's sound remains grounded in mainstream pop via lead singer Luke Hemmings' R&B-influenced croon. The same can be said of the band's songwriting, which never veers too far afield of the Maroon 5/Imagine Dragons' end of the pop spectrum. Some of the credit to the group's inventive stylistic mashup can go to their production/songwriting collaborators here, including at various times Louis Bell, Charlie Puth, Happy Perez, and Andrew Watt. And while the '90s Trent Reznor-goes-pop aesthetic is carried throughout much of the album, there are other, just as prominent stylistic influences at play as they dive into steamy, Latin-tinged pop with "Red Desert," call-back their EDM influences on "Old Me," and draw upon an infectious '80s-style dance pop on "Wildflower." Calm is the sound of a band whose influences have continued to evolve right along with them and their fans. ~ Matt Collar