November 2015

Cover Story: 5 Seconds of Summer

Exploring 5 Seconds of Summer’s sound from its beginnings to present day.

National Standards:

Prepare: Have the class read Making 5 Seconds Last (page 34 of the student edition). The article tells the story of 5 Seconds of Summer, the Australian pop rock band who released a new album this year titled Sounds Good Feels Good.

Key points in the article:

  • Despite writing their own songs and playing instruments, 5 Seconds of Summer is often referred to as a “boy band” especially for their young fan base.
  • The group started out by covering pop songs on YouTube, with each member eventually contributing the group’s original songwriting.
  • Their popularity was boosted when One Direction discovered them and invited them on their tour. Soon they released their self-titled major label debut.
  • The group’s strengths lie in their friendships, devotion to music, and ability to play and write their own music. Their new album, Sounds Good Feels Good was released this October as a followup to what the media believes is a promising sound.

Begin: Discuss with the class why or why not 5 Seconds of Summer would be considered a “boy band.” Topics may include:

  • They write and play their own music
  • Their fan base is that of a typical boy band
  • Their age and image makes them alike groups like One Direction

Develop: Play the following video of one of the group’s early singles (that caught the attention of One Direction), “Gotta Get Out”:

What are the song’s defining qualities?

  • Vocal harmonies and vocal contribution from each group member
  • Changing rhythms and feel in the chorus and bridge
  • Changing guitar and drumming patterns throughout the song

Now play this music video of their 2014 single, “Don’t Stop”:

What about this song is different than the one featured in the last video?

  • Less emphasis on vocal harmonies, though multiple members of the band are singing
  • More of a driving beat enhanced by the electric guitars
  • Similar dynamic changes between verse and chorus