Trying to re-create iconic songs and moments that deliver the next “hit” 5 Seconds Of Summer’s sophomore studio album feels a bit dry with a recycled sound that, well has been done before. The fangirls will try to argue that “Sounds Good Feels Good” is their strongest work yet and will have you falling in love with them but I’m sorry to say that isn’t completely the truth. This album has a mix of decent pop/rock songs that deliver catchy hooks and emotion while others are messy and absolutely cringe worthy. Don’t even get me started on the mess that was “She’s Kinda Hot” and their unnecessary follow up single “Hey Everybody” which you could literally sing “She’s Kinda Hot” to and get away with it. And let me just settle this for once and for all, this is not a punk album, and these guys aren’t a punk band. “Money”, “Vapor”, “Fly Away”, “Airplanes” and “San Francisco” offer the gimmicky pop/rock moments that are eye roll worthy and will have you reaching for the skip button. “Waste The Night”, “Broken Home” and “Invisible” try very hard to be emotional and give cringe-worthy lyrics that have been structured to be “oh so quotable” and will have every teenage girl saying how touching they are. Snore.
Now, it’s not all negative. I actually did enjoy some of the album with “Jet Black Heart” leading the pack followed by the heartbreak anthem “Catch Fire” which is single worthy. One of the poppier synth offerings is the quirky “Safety Pin” which will instantly become a favourite with its catchy and quotable hook. “We’ll safety pin, the pieces of our broken hearts back together. Patching up all the holes until we both feel much better”. The sassy and “fuck you” esq “Castaway” will become a highlight in their live show as it explodes with energy and emotion. “How’d we drift so far away from where we left off yesterday? I’m lonely like a castaway”. While on album closer “Outer Space/Carry On” they show a mature side with an incredibly well produced 6 and a half minute monster that shows them growing as musicians. It’s not focused on hooks, or trying to give structured emotion and just allows these two songs to collide together and offer a beautiful moment. I wish the rest of the album was this experimental or actually offered good hooks like their last album did with all of its singles. They co-wrote with a lot of music heavyweights like Duran Duran, Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, Bonnie Mckee (very out of place on these credits) and The Madden Brothers. However a lot of the songs sound like they are trying to be other bands or other songs and makes them sound quite lost as musicians. The problem with this album was that it offered too much material and the decent tracks got lost within the album filler and mediocre at best tracks. As a body of work, this isn’t their best work as a collective but it does have some of their strongest and mature material. If you aren’t already fan you probably won’t find yourself picking this CD up or heading to their live show but you could probably appreciate some of the songs. But, can we just pretend that “She’s Kinda Hot” wasn’t a thing because that would make me very happy.