For an exclusive look into our 5 Seconds of Summer 10th anniversary zine, the boys look back on their best songs of the decade.
10 years is a long time.
Think back to where you were in 2011, to where the world was. Think about how long ago that feels. It’s been a tumultuous decade for us all. But just imagine spending that entire decade growing up in the public eye as one of the biggest bands around.
Starting while they were in school, right in the middle of their teenage years, 5 Seconds of Summer have spent the decade growing up in front of their audience as they continue to flourish as a band. They’ve played arenas with capacities of 10s of thousands around the world, hit number one on the charts with a huge array of albums and singles, and racked up billions of streams across their discography.
It’s a testament to a band with a truly enduring fan base, one founded in the appreciation of the bond shared by Michael Clifford, Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin and Luke Hemmings. They’ve remained friends throughout this hectic decade of 5 Seconds of Summer, and it’s that friendship that is central to the band’s songwriting.
Now, in 2021, 5 Seconds of Summer are stronger than ever, with four albums under their belt and new ideas flowing freely amongst the band. With exciting things ahead in 2022, they’ve taken the opportunity to look back and celebrate a relentless and exciting 10 years together as a band, with the release of a new single and a specially produced live show, The 5 Seconds of Summer Show – A 10 Year Celebration, featuring renditions of their greatest hits and much more.
In this exclusive digital feature, we take a deep dive back through their best songs of the decade with an in depth interview, right up to their latest nostalgic single, “2011”. Get a sneak peak below, and download the feature for full access.
“SHE LOOKS SO PERFECT”
Why did you pick this song as the lead single from your first album?
CALUM: To start out, that’s probably my favourite song of ours right now. It holds a lot of identity of the band when we were first starting out. I think it’s really true to who we are as songwriters. It has this total flow throughout, but it’s also very meticulous.
I think the reason why we chose that is because it totally almost summed up the whole energy of the group. It’s a very lighthearted entrance in which we can really put a foot in the door. It feels like after 10 years it’s still a song in which we can really enjoy on stage. So that’s something that we really look towards when we’re writing songs, songs with longevity that we can enjoy even in our mid 20s.
“Amnesia” is a much quieter song for you. What was the idea behind including that sound on your first album?
MICHAEL: We were thinking that every band has to have that song that you can pick up on an acoustic guitar, and that’s the riff that you play. “Amnesia” was that for us. When we were making that original demo, we were thinking that this wasn’t just a normal song, you know? This is a song that you could put on in 10 years, and still listen to it, and feel that same emotion. I think for us, it felt like that kind of song where it was just almost impossible to go out of style. It’s just an acoustic guitar, and these beautiful lyrics and this beautiful concept. And, it’s funny, because we’ll still play it live, and even though we probably should get bored of it, we don’t. I think just because it can be such a personal song to someone. If you’re playing it live, and you see someone out there who’s really feeling these lyrics, it really does make us be like, oh, okay, we get why we play this song. You want to see people happy to be in the moment listening to that music.
This song has become your most popular on Spotify, with almost 1.3 billion streams. What do you think appealed so widely about this particular song to such a huge audience?
LUKE: It’s hard to say, because obviously for us as a band at the time that song was sort of a disruptive record in the pop space. From the outside looking in, it seemed different from what was going on, and for us as a band that really worked. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s kind of crazy. We all really loved the song and we knew it was a big part of the album, but we didn’t know it was going to do what it did. Something just clicked with people for some reason.
The music video for this is a lot darker and stranger than a lot of the stuff you’d done before. Where did the idea for that come from?
LUKE: After we did Youngblood, because it was written over such a long period of time and had such a mix of sounds, we really wanted to expand on that industrial rock sound. We found something we liked and seemed to suit us and feels great live, so “Teeth” came from that. We wanted to take that sound further and make it darker. The video represents that same thing – it just matches up with the song and this brooding adventure.
There’s quite a reflective, personal feel to this song and how it explores nostalgia for simple times. How was it to draw on your own experience, not just emotionally but in terms of your identity as a band?
CALUM: It was great. I mean, a lot of our music is very reflective, so it came second nature to be able to talk about something that’s so close to us in terms of our experience, because we live very similar journeys, yet everyone sees it from a different point of view. “2011” flowed very easily because it almost became, as we were writing the song, more selfless in terms of what you’re writing about – in terms of really just celebrating the people that have shared this journey with you. And it felt like we were not writing it for ourselves. We knew we were writing it for anyone that’s been a part of 5 Seconds of Summer’s first 10 years. And that was the amazing part.
ASHTON: The masterplan was really wanting to create a song for the 10th anniversary that felt truthful to the beginning, middle and where we’re at now, but also looking inwards and asking how we release something that has the best bits of everything that we’ve done. That starts with asking who’s going to be on the team to create the song. Calum and Michael wrote that song, and Michael co-produced it with the producer who did the first two records, John Feldmann. That alone says to me that it was the right thing, that we were creating a hybrid between older relationships and new relationships, and releasing a single that would kickstart the next decade of our careers. Everything felt spot on – it’s truthful to the communication we’ve had with people we’ve worked with for a really long time. The fact that we can still make a single together is still so cool. Songwriting relationships come and go, but we’ve been really lucky to have some really consistent songwriting and production relationships for our whole career. It’s a nice kickstart into the next chapter of what we get up to.