From the Egyptian’s hieroglyphics to meticulous tags found on certain Tumblr pages, the need to catalogue and pigeonhole stuff appears to be quite an inherently human characteristic. So indulge us as we try to examine why the classification and blatant marketing of 5 Seconds of Summer as a pop punk band incites a profound sense of discomfort amongst hypersensitive purists and has mere laypersons like us scratching our heads.
When Alternative Press braced itself to “address the elephant in the room” it asserted that indeed, the band ought to be included under the pop punk umbrella and more admirably, attempted to accentuate the potential of a mainstream return of the genre with 5SOS as a prime figurehead. In response, AbsolutePunk.net’s Thomas Nassiff deemed this hypothesis as a “daydream” - that the Australian quartet will not be responsible for any pop punk renaissance and is more likely to “evaporate with nothing more than a few hundred million YouTube plays.”
In a world where the likes of The Story So Far, Man Overboard, The Wonder Years, Neck Deep, Real Friends, State Champs and Fireworks are increasingly namedropped, the thought of 5 Seconds of Summer being lumped together with such acts in addition to being plugged as Our Salvation is brittle and falters instantaneously.
There isn’t a whisper about 5SOS in Billboard’s timely Top 10 New School Pop-Punk Bands You Need To Know either (including our faves in Candy Hearts) and rightly so because neither skinny jeans nor power chords mandate an entry to the genre that is blatantly being monetized by these One Direction spawns. “wow! it has guitars!” (Nasiff, 2014) Also, Are We Sure That [She Looks So Perfect] Isn’t a Parody?
Self-perpetuated comparisons to All Time Low and Mayday Parade also seem cursory if not ambitious in light of the group’s forgettable hooks that predictably lack emotional depth - falling closer to pop rock’s weaker products who more often than not solely comment on girls. Hayley Williams lookalike or not, 5 Seconds of Summer tries so hard to distance themselves from their boy band brethren (and does a relatively good job too) however to a trained eye, their synthetic nature grows more apparent with every (ironic?) Metallica or Misfits shirt donned.
In spite of the prescriptively anal views expressed thus far, we’re not saying don’t listen to 5 Seconds of Summer - by all means, imbibe copious amounts of airbrushed power pop as you like. Whether or not 5SOS’s masquerade as a pop punk acts poses a ridiculous irk to some shouldn’t affect your profound appreciation for such a bona fide and timeless art.
But seriously though, they’re really not pop punk.