The Critics Corner | Albums

Youngblood After a short, three-year break, Aussie four-piece delivers an angsty (in a good way) third record
Robin Thicke
Hayley Holmes Album name: Youngblood
Label: Capitol/UMG
Release date: June 15, 2018
My rating: 5.0 out of 5

Review written by: Luanne Lim
Five years ago, Australian band, 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) emerged as one of Rolling Stone’s “biggest new rock act in the world.” Topping the charts with their debut, self-titled release and selling out shows as the opening band for British band, One Direction, the four boys - Michael Clifford, Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood, and Ashton Irwin - from Sydney, Australia were catapulted into the spotlight.

Fast-forward to 2018, three years after the release of their second full-length, Sounds Good Feels Good. The boys are now young adults, exploring a new sound that differs greatly from prior albums. Gone are the love-laced, happy, almost singular pop beats. Enter a new, punk-infused album filled with teenage angst, various melodies, and a great showcase of the band’s evolution.

From the get-go, Youngblood entices listeners with its title track. As the second single, “Youngblood” sets the mood for the album. Despite the intense emotion, the track has an addicting beat and an even catchier chorus.

Following the preceding track’s steps, “Want You Back” is just as enticing. The first single of the album, “Want You Back” is a song that I, personally, can’t get out of my head, nor would I want to. Going along with the “break up” theme, the song evokes emotions revolving around not really getting over someone, but once again, to an insanely catchy beat.

Among the significant standouts from Youngblood are “Lie to Me” and “Ghost of You.” Both tracks take on a slower tempo with beautifully written lyrics, truly showing the band’s growth when it comes to songwriting.

Similarly, “Moving Along” and “Why Won’t You Love Me” are the last remaining angsty, pre and post relationship songs. “Moving Along” is about what the title implies - moving on. The track has a quicker beat than the more ballad-sounding “Why Won’t You Love Me.”

Some tracks from Youngblood are meant for just dancing, flirting, and having a good time. “Talk Fast” reflects an 80s pop influence. Transitioning from getting over an ex, “Talk Fast” is a song that shows the next stage of moving on - finding someone else. Likewise, “If Walls Could Talk” and “Valentine”  have an aura of promiscuity to them, foreshadowing events that could take place behind closed doors.

“Better Man” and “Monster Among Men” have beats that, for some reason, remind me of the sounds of island countries. “Monster Among Men” drifts between quick to slow tempos easily, making for an interesting song.

Other tracks from the 16-track album include “Woke Up in Japan,” “Empty Wallets,” “Meet You There,” and “Babylon”. Each track adds to the uniqueness of Youngblood by showing a seamless blend of different genres in each individual song. From several generations of pop, rock, punk, and other genres, each song adds a new and unique element to the overall album.

For an album that has 16-tracks, not including bonus or extended editions, Youngblood features songs that are unique to each other. Venturing away from the expected lovestruck-pop sound, 5 Seconds of Summer successfully create a new sound for their band, showcasing their improved instrumental and songwriting skills with a newfound maturity, and proving that taking a few years off can be a good thing.
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