I originally wrote this post on tumblr here under the title ‘On 5SOS being punk – possibly a better kind of punk’ when the song She’s Kinda Hot was released as a single, but I’m rewriting it now because 5 Seconds of Summer are on a world tour and keep getting better and better.
If you’re one of those people who won’t continue to read this and decide to say I’m wrong without listening to what I say because you have your own idea on what counts as punk, check out what this counterculture wikia has to say about what punk rock really is: “Punk rock is what you make of it. Be individual.”
It’s as simple as that.
See, the problem with “punk” is that it holds a slightly different meaning for everyone. But it’s not just a music genre: punk is, and always has been, a counterculture movement. And like many movements, it’s constantly evolving and producing offshoots.
Personally, I see 5 Seconds of Summer as part of this movement, and from what I get from their lyrics, I think it’s entirely probable that they’re heading a new offshoot of the punk movement: the New Broken Scene.
To backtrack a little, I think the reason I’m so attached to 5SOS is that I’ve always felt like any band that I can relate to doesn’t really speak for my experiences because they’re from a different decade or made up of people born and raised in a different decade. And obviously it’s different for everyone, but for me it’s just a little harder to relate to a band when they’ve already gone through and dealt with the things in my life that I’m currently struggling with, you know?
But then this band comes along, who everyone makes fun of me for liking or tunes me out for talking about, that’s made up of these kids literally my own age who are open about not really fitting in growing up like I did and know what it’s like to grow up in the same time I did, who are completely open about mental illnesses which I also have, who release music that makes me legitimately cry because of how much I can relate to it.
I see 5SOS as punk because tons and tons of young people are hearing this band and seeing them as someone who gets them, for the very first time and finally understanding that feeling of being given a voice for everything you could never explain.
And that feeling? That’s the very essence of punk rock to me.
It’s not even just this new album that makes me think this. 5SOS have already had songs that touch on this feeling with lyrics like
- “Sick of the system, don’t wanna hear it. It’s not a secret that I’m just a reject”(Rejects)
- “Life can be so hard to breathe when you’re trapped inside a box” (Tomorrow Never Dies)
- “Don’t wanna be a victim of authority. I’ll always be a part of the minority. Save me from who I’m supposed to be. So tell me, tell me, tell me what you want from me. I don’t wanna be another social casualty” (Social Casualty)
- “So go ahead, rip my heart out, show me what love’s all about” (If You Don’t Know)
- “When I close my eyes and try to sleep, I fall apart, I’m fighting hard to breathe” (The Only Reason)
- And even a lyric from the supposed “pop” song She Looks So Perfect that they’re famous for: “They say we’re too young now to amount to anything else, but look around. We work too damn hard for this just to give it up now”
Their songs are filled with emotions that their fans can relate to – and that is exactly the kind of thing that people loved when they first got into bands like Blink-182, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and all those others back in the early 2000′s with the pop-punk revival, and that’s why I get so mad when people say 5SOS isn’t punk, because punk is fueled by that feeling.
5SOS say that part of the reason they were rejects growing up was because they listened to punk music, and now 5SOS fans are rejects for listening to them. But who cares? The New Broken Scene is gonna be a punk revival in a good way, and maybe that’s why people don’t want to see them as punk.
The old school punk that we’re familiar with is all about being broken and that’s what makes it good, but 5SOS’s New Broken Scene punk? It’s positive in spite of being broken:
- “They say we’re losers and we’re alright with that. We are the leaders of the not-coming-back’s. But we’re alright though. Yeah, we’re alright though. We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene. Yeah, we’re alright though” (She’s Kinda Hot)
- “When you’ve got bigger plans that no one else understands, you’ve got a shot though” (She’s Kinda Hot)
- “We’ll safety-pin the pieces of our broken hearts back together. Patching up all the holes until we both feel much better” (Safety Pin)
- “I don’t ever wanna wait for this, I know that I was made for this. I won’t fade into dark. I’m not gonna say that I’m sorry, gonna see the end of this story. I won’t fade into darkness. Airplanes cut through the clouds like angels can fly. We’ll never die. Sirens cut through the night like screams set on fire, rising up higher. Like I’ve something to prove, nothing to lose. In this city, in this city.” (Airplanes)
- “It’s not the end of the road. Yeah, we’ve all been there before” (Hey Everybody!)
- “It’s not the end of the world. Yeah, we’ve all been there before” (Hey Everybody!)
- “We can’t afford to give up, we gotta make our own luck” (Hey Everybody!)
- “The blood in my veins is made up of mistakes. Let’s forget who we are and dive into the dark, as we burst into color, returning to life” (Jet Black Heart)
- “I know I’m an under-achiever and we’re all so proud” (Permanent Vacation)
- “Hey, I’m doing fine and I know I’m out of line, so let’s sing this one more time. It goes: Destination: permanent vacation” (Permanent Vacation)
- And the entirety of the song Carry On. For example, a lyric from it is “Carry on, outlast the ignorance. Moving on, survive the innocence. Won’t be long, won’t be long, won’t be long. You know it’s gonna get better”
People are saying that 5SOS isn’t punk, but maybe that’s just because they aren’t the punk that we’re all used to.
And that’s fitting. After all, they say in Permanent Vacation “We’re the voice of the new generation,” so if the new generation has a new voice, maybe we need a new punk movement to go with it.
“We are the leaders of the not-coming-back’s”? Yeah, I want to leave this town where I never felt like I fit in and never ever ever come back and I will follow this band into the New Broken Scene that they’re creating with all my heart cos it’s gonna be incredible and you know what?
I’m broken too–
But I’m alright though.