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The Best 5 Seconds Of Summer Songs, Ranked

Countless moments had to go right, or at least not disastrously wrong, for 5 Seconds Of Summer to make it past the 10-year mark as a band. There were instances in which the band members themselves — made up of guitarists Luke Hemmings and Michael Clifford, bassist Calum Hood, and drummer Ashton Irwin — were uncertain about whether they would emerge from creative droughts and burnout long enough to even reach the milestone. But as they release 5SOS5, their fifth studio album in twice as many years, the pop-rock outfit has embraced the feeling of falling upwards.

The tagline has appeared sporadically throughout the current album era with no explicit meaning or definition. However, glancing back over the trajectory of their career, it’s clear that from the very beginning 5SOS possessed deeply ambitious, if at times misguided, long-term goals that shifted as they began to find their place in the pop arena. The Australian band has since built a catalog scattered with searing ruminations on toxic relationships that have reached their breaking point, others that simply weren’t meant to be in the first place, and more recently have embraced the thematic thread of self-reflection in their songwriting to metamorphic results.

When 5SOS released themselves from the restrictive influence of both internal and external expectations to allow themselves to fall freely, they didn’t find that they were plummeting towards the ground, but rather floating completely untether in the opposite direction towards boundless opportunity. Revisiting 20 of the band’s greatest songs, it seems they’re only getting better along the way.

20. “Castaway” (Sounds Good, Feels Good, 2015)

5SOS tried out a dozen combinations of sounds across their second album to help prove they were a tried-and-true rock band, each with varying degrees of success — but none as intriguing as “Castaway.” Left with the ashes of a past relationship, Hemmings and Clifford delivered a venomous performance trying to figure out where it all went wrong, backed by sweltering instrumentals from Hood and Irwin. The band took the glossy pop band narrative that had begun forming around them from the release of their self-titled debut album and melted it down with the heat of an unrestrained and fervently industrial rock anthem.

19. “Unpredictable” (Somewhere New EP, 2012)

5SOS has released dozens of songs across multiple albums and smaller projects since the release of their debut EP Somewhere New in 2012. Now, the band may look back and recoil from their earliest releases — they’ve grown immensely as artists in the time since and won’t even entertain the idea of playing most of them live — but still, there’s something special about the youthful optimism of “Unpredictable.” Even the cliché “get out of town” trope they learned from their pop-punk forefathers isn’t cringe-worthy. How could it be? They sounded like they were having the time of their lives.

18. “End Up Here” (5 Seconds Of Summer, 2014)

After years of studying the work of All Time Low, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and more, 5SOS boiled down the most essential lessons they learned from each of their early career influences and crafted their notes into “End Up Here.” They checked all of the boxes: slight self-deprecation, impassioned storytelling, and — most importantly — a killer, chant-ready chorus that kicked off with a Nirvana reference and lead into an even more satisfying hook: “Now we’re walking back to your place / You’re telling me how you love that song about living on a prayer / I’m pretty sure that we’re halfway there.”

17. “TEARS!” (5SOS5, 2022)

Closing out 5SOS5 as the last of five bonus tracks, “TEARS!” is an atmospheric departure from the 18 songs that preceded it. Beyond its pulsating, boundary-pushing production — one of the band’s most unique structural arrangements to date — the track unsuspectingly called back to the cadence and melodies wielded by R&B singers in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the beat dropping out at times to spotlight crystal-clear vocal performances from Hood and Irwin. One of the few led vocally in the band’s discography, let alone on this particular album, “TEARS!” unleashes a vividly cathartic performance about a precarious search for release.

16. “Moving Along” (Youngblood, 2018)

On their third album Youngblood, 5SOS set the stage for their most ambitious and cohesive live show yet. With that in mind, the band brought the energy of thousands of fans into the studio to create “Moving Along,” a pulsing deep cut that erupts from the moment it begins. The funk-meets-rock track only slows down as Hood and Hemmings take turns riding out the bassline, wondering if an ex is as stuck on even the most trivial “what-ifs” of the past as they are. “Thinking ’bout you lots lately,” they admit. “Have you been eating breakfast alone like me?”

15. “Vapor” (Sounds Good, Feels Good, 2015)

“Vapor,” a deep cut from Sounds Good, Feels Good, builds itself around the elevation of deeply passionate sentiments, even in the face of emotional destruction. “I want to breathe you in like you’re vapor,” 5SOS offers on the chorus in a rare instance in which Clifford leads vocals. The intensity heightens from there, Hood and Irwin raising the bar: “I want to feel you in my veins.” There’s a haunting darkness to “Vapor” that intensifies with the addition of a complete string section that runs beneath percussion that sonically resembles the shattering of hearts in a relationship built to fail.

14. “Blender” (5SOS5, 2022)

5SOS has long conveyed an apparent discomfort with staying in one place for too long, using each project to experiment with their sound while inching closer and closer to a sonic manifestation of their core identity. On 5SOS5, they crack their own code with “Blender,” an uptempo emotional whirlwind driven by a masterfully slick bassline and vocal gymnastics. The single reflects a culmination of both the band’s development between Youngblood and CALM and their dramatic yet electrifying energy they made honest attempts at capturing on their earlier releases. “Blender” is an illustration of the heights 5SOS can reach when everything clicks.

13. “Old Me” (CALM, 2020)

One of the leading singles on CALM, the band’s fourth studio album that derived its title from each member’s first initial, “Old Me” feels like a catalyst for the recent self-reflective breakthroughs offered both on their group releases and in the solo material shared by Hemmings (2021’s When Facing The Things We Turn Away From) and Irwin (2021’s Superbloom). Over thumping production from Post Malone collaborator Louis Bell, 5SOS owns up to their past to streamline a clear path toward the future. “Shout out to the old me and everything you showed me,” Hemmings laments. “Had to f*ck it up before I let you get to know me.”

12. “Beside You” (5 Seconds Of Summer, 2014)

Two years before it landed on the band’s debut album, an earlier version of “Beside You” was the centerpiece of their debut EP. The newer recording was a more polished effort rounded out with orchestral flare and rock inclinations. The lyrics, however, remained intact, almost as a testament to foundational songwriting skills 5SOS had from the jump. Conceptually, they weren’t reinventing the wheel in their approach to detailing the yearning of a long-distance relationship, but they made it their own. It also marked one of the band’s strongest vocal performances and remains a fundamental marker of growth in their skill set.

11. “Older (featuring Sierra Deaton)” (5SOS5, 2022)

Credited collaborations are few and far between within 5SOS’ catalog. With the arrival of “Older,” songwriter Sierra Deaton becomes the first featured artist on one of the band’s album tracks. The one-time X Factor winner co-wrote the song with Hemmings (her fiancé) and has vocals on the final recording. The soothing ballad pays homage to classic, piano-based love songs while verbalizing the inevitable pain promised by falling in love and running out of time. There’s a maturity to the notion, taking the band’s frequent ruminations on the passage of time and pairing it with their ever-evolving understanding of the complexity of love.

10. “Waste The Night” (Sounds Good, Feels Good, 2015)

5SOS knew they needed their second album to explore areas of their artistry they hadn’t on the first. When they started working on what would become “Waste The Night,” they laid down a mid-tempo foundation built around synths with Irwin’s drumming leading them forward. Clifford and Hood tackle the refrain that follows the instrumental break at the song’s conclusion, returning from a seamless fade-out to harmonize with alluring vocals. Drawing inspiration from somewhere in the space between The Police and The 1975, 5SOS unearthed something that felt grandiose, ethereal, and unexpected.

9. “Teeth — Live From The Vault” (CALM, 2019)

During the early stages of introducing CALM, 5SOS conceptualized the vault, a live performance space where they would deliver alternate recordings of the album’s singles. Before the vault shuttered indefinitely at the start of the pandemic, 5SOS recorded an elevated version of their industrial rock track “Teeth” — which interpolates New Order’s “Blue Monday” via Rihanna’s “Shut Up And Drive” — adding even more grit and electricity to it. The bassline running through “Teeth — Live From The Vault” fuses with piercing drum stabs and range-challenging vocals in what culminates as a celebration of the complete transformation a song can make when its focus locks in on the interconnection of its instrumentation.

8. “Disconnected” (She Looks So Perfect EP, 2014)

While 5SOS were making their mark singing about arrow-heart tattoos and American Apparel underwear on their debut major label single “She Looks So Perfect,” the song’s accompanying EP was hiding pop gold in plain sight. Co-written with John Feldmann (The Used, Good Charlotte) and All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth, “Disconnected” expertly channeled the brand of long-winded rhythmic pop that The 1975 were inching closer to perfecting around the same time. Everything fell perfectly into place — from the backing ad-libs and the attention-demanding performance from the rhythm section to the tender sentiment: “You are my getaway, you are my favorite place.”

7. “Bad Omens” (5SOS5, 2022)

On “Bad Omens,” 5SOS delivers a cautionary tale about the danger of ignoring glaring red flags, something their discography suggests they’ve had quite a few run-ins with. Still, when it comes to love, they never learn their lesson. The layers of harmonies that swell at the end of the track alongside an angelic string section were recorded all at once, rather than pieced together in layers later on. As it builds to a climax, the ensemble performance drives home the force behind their willingness to go to the ends of the earth for someone, no matter how poorly it may end: “That’s what you do when you love somebody.”

6. “Ghost of You — Live” (Meet You There Tour Live, 2018)

5SOS’ live show rests at the core of their identity as a band. On “Ghost Of You — Live,” recorded in 2018 during the Meet You There tour, eerie piano notes lead into a transformative rendition of the chilling breakup ballad from Youngblood. Flashlights raised, the audience quickly takes on a collaborative role as thousands of emotion-packed voices blend together with the band’s pristine performance. “So I drown it out like I always do / Dancing through our house with the ghost of you,” Hemmings sings on the final verse, driving home one of the band’s most heart-wrenching lyrics with the help of the roaring crowd: “And I’ll chase it down, with a shot of truth / That my feet don’t dance like they did with you.”

5. “2011” (2021)

Commemorating their 10-year anniversary in December 2021, 5SOS shared “2011,” a nostalgia-drenched return to form. “I miss the days when we were young and not so wise,” Hood offers. “Only doing what felt right, with open hearts and open eyes.” In between the highs and lows of their career, 5SOS became somewhat jaded by their own success. But as the first song written and produced solely by 5SOS — Clifford helming the latter responsibility with pop-punk flare — “2011” carried with it an air of optimism. When the band chants “back to the days when the days were better” over slamming percussion, they aren’t exactly clicking their heels together wishing to go back in time. Instead, they arrive at a realization that the youthful, bright-eyed feeling doesn’t have to be gone forever – and they don’t need anyone but each other to get it back.

4. “If You Don’t Know” (Don’t Stop EP, 2014)

Over the years, 5SOS has developed a reputation for delegating some of their best songs to the fate of becoming b-sides and rarities. “If You Don’t Know” is one such fallen soldier. An essential snapshot from their early career, the record captures all of the potential they have come to reach and further explore as established pop artists in the years that followed. While delivering some of their sharpest lyrics to date, the band had never sounded more in sync — from Clifford’s anxiety-inducing guitar riffs reflecting the impending doom of the relationship to Irwin’s backing vocals holding the entire production together. It’s a breakup song that fights for a happy ending — if the flame was going to burn out, anyway, 5SOS were going to exhaust themselves pleading for one final chance at making it work.

3. “Close As Strangers” (5 Seconds Of Summer, 2014)

5SOS was adamant early in their career that they didn’t want to be called a boyband, or draw too many comparisons to One Direction, despite their closely linked fanbase. But teaming up with the group’s frequent collaborator Steve Robson, 5SOS made it clear that if they wanted to dominate in the pop lane (they would later prove on Youngblood, they could do so with ease). Listening to “Close As Strangers” feels like reading years-old love letters abandoned in a drawer and experiencing all of the same emotions. Another song left to collect dust in the depths of 5SOS’ discography, it’s a classic story of a musician on the road, straining to maintain a sense of connection. But 5SOS changes their fate, singing over soothing guitars and shimmering percussion: “Living dreams in fluorescent lights while you and I are running out of time, but you know that I’ll always wait for you.”

2. “Best Years” (CALM, 2020)

As we’ve seen, 5SOS does heartbreak extremely well — maybe even a little too well. But “Best Years” makes an undeniable case that 5SOS does all-consuming romance even better. It’s a modern pop ballad on par with Ariana Grande’s “POV” or The Weeknd’s “Die For You” and a public declaration of love that would bring even the most cynical anti-romantic to their knees. “Best Years” succeeds in its refusal to take the easy way out by celebrating a love without hiccups or detours. “I wanna hold your hair when you drink too much / And carry you home when you cannot stand up,” Hemmings offers as dazzling synths subside to the background. “You did all these things for me when I was half a man for you / I wanna hold your hand while we’re growing up.” There’s a depth to the track’s all-encompassing production that carefully matches the weight of its content without overpowering it.

1. “Youngblood” (Youngblood, 2018)

When 5SOS launched into their third album era in 2018, there was no better declaration of the band they had become in the three years since their last album than the title track “Youngblood.” Their newfound maturity reintroduced the four-piece as artists with a catalog-defining collection of live instrument-driven pop songs up their sleeve and nothing left to prove. 5SOS established themselves as key players in the genre’s ever-competitive arena with unsuspecting production twists and progressions as the single dominated radio, years ahead of pop’s guitar revival. During their time off gathering life experiences, the band made an essential transformation through the realization that they didn’t have to overcompensate for anyone’s expectations. Their first song to surpass a billion streams, “Youngblood” captured the essence of 5SOS in under three and a half minutes, signifying a defining turning point for the band as both songwriters and performers.