A good band is one you can watch evolve through the years and an even better band is one you can still love despite all their embarrassing fashion moments. As 5 Seconds of Summer enter a new aesthetic with their latest album CALM, we can’t help but remember the previous aesthetics they rocked hard (RIP Luke’s lip ring). So, take a trip down memory lane with us as we unpack the style evolution of our fave Aussie boys.
Somewhere New EP (2012)
In the beginning (and we’re talking way back), when the boys were still in high school and practicing covers in their bedrooms, they perfectly reflected the average teenage boy. With their Biebs-but-make-it-punk hairstyles and blue cuffed jeans, they set out to become the next big thing. Thankfully for them, Louis Tomlinson gave them their big break and it was only a matter of time before they joined One Direction on tour. It seemed every girl couldn’t get enough of the Converse-footed heartthrobs, their sheepish style giving them the total boy-next-door vibe that felt like an achievable romance. And it reflected their edgy pop music too. Unlike the perfectly put together 1D, 5SOS didn’t care how they looked. They only cared about making music, and they happily rocked onstage in the same scruffy getups they wore in their bedroom jam sessions. Because, if it wasn’t clear already, they were certainly not a boyband.
5 Seconds of Summer (2014)
By the time it hit 2014, 5SOS had a studio album and two tours with One Direction under their belt. Not to mention legions of fans that were growing by the second. They had been around the block enough to leave their sheepish schoolboy aesthetic behind and were now shifting towards pop punk royalty. The hairstyles changed (Michael began dying his hair multiple different colours) and Ashton adopted a bandana as his trademark look. They traded their blue cuffs in for black skinnies and picked up every band shirt you could imagine. It seemed the boys 100% did give a damn about what they looked like now, but they weren’t going to let anyone actually know that. Sure, every outfit would be perfectly curated, but it’d have just enough ruggedness to make you think they just rolled out of bed. The fame was hitting them faster than they expected but they still wanted to make one thing clear. Although they had all of 1D’s fans, they were still not a boyband. It’s called pop punk, mum. Look it up.
Sounds Good Feels Good (2015)
Not a lot changed from the year 2014 to 2015, except for the boys growing visibly older. Ashton, the oldest in the group, was now 21 and Luke, the youngest, had turned 19, and it was adding a sense of maturity to their look and sound. Wanting to hone in on the whole pop punk scene as much as possible, their sophomore album became a deeper version of their first, emulating the likes of Good Charlotte (both Madden brothers worked with them) and Blink 182. Their look, while still rugged, aged out of squeaky pop punkers and turned to punk rock. Ashton grew out his hair and the oh-so-adorable Luke started growing facial hair. But the ripped band shirts and plaid still remained, and we still got to bask in their leather jacket glory. Even if, unbeknown to us, it’d be the last time we’d see it all.
The years between the band’s sophomore album and their third were the ones where they most evolved. Taking a step back from the world of touring and the intense fame, 5SOS took a beat to work on their new album and discover who they wanted to be as adult men. The answer was, tragically, to leave the world of pop punk behind. Almost a brand new band entered the world again in 2018; Luke had grown out his hair and ditched his iconic lip ring to become a new Kurt Cobain, Calum had significantly beefed up, Michael had ditched the wacky hair colours and instead opted for an edgy fringe and Ashton had chopped off all his hair to create a rockabilly 60s boy quiff. Gone were the ripped band tanks and replacing them were vintage tees, leather boots and silky blouses. But their sound was the biggest change of all. Delving into synth-pop, their third album completely left their previous two in the dust and introduced the world to a whole new musical side of the band. And they pulled it off so effortlessly it felt as though this was who they were meant to be all along. They were grown men now, finally singing the f-word, and undoubtedly becoming fully-fledged rockstars.
Clearly seeing that the whole synth-pop thing was a success, 5SOS found their groove and looked for ways to improve on it. Which essentially meant a whole lot of experimentation. They upped their retro aesthetic, expanding their wardrobe to fit more shiny getups and gold chains, and cut and coloured their hair just like they used to (except this time it was more chic). Their latest album dabbles back into the world of punk, but in a nu metal and alternative 90s way. They got artsier, grungier, and a whole lot weirder. Almost like they took the best parts from each of their eras and pieced them all together to achieve their final form. The current 5SOS is definitely the strongest. They’re surer about their music than they’ve ever been, turning it into an entire visual rather than just the sound. But who’s to say they won’t shift again? We’re talking about a band who started as pop punk schoolboys trailing after the biggest boyband in the world. There’s no possible way to guess how 5SOS will evolve, all we can do is just sit back and watch them do it.
Listen to the new album CALM by 5 Seconds of Summer below.