Credit: Alexandra Gavillet

5 Seconds of Summer: A Year in Review

2018 was a huge year for music. An incredible amount of outstanding albums were released and 5 Seconds of Summer didn’t miss out on being a part of it all too. From releasing their widely anticipated third album to going on two phenomenal world tours, 2018 was a monumental year for the band.

After a fairly quiet 2017, 5SOS began the year teasing a new album.

Cryptic gifs and photos were posted all over their social media accounts, with words and other unknown at-the-time lyrics on them. New music seemed closer and closer as each day passed.

‘Want You Back’ marked 5 Seconds of Summer’s return and was released on the 23rd February as the lead single from the third album. The sound of the track was different from their prior singles, it was poppier but sounded like 5SOS refined, and gave us a glimpse into what was to come from the upcoming album.

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Ahead of the album’s release (and even its announcement), 5 Seconds of Summer embarked on their first world tour of the year. The promotional 5SOS III tour saw the band travel to 26 intimate venues across a multitude of countries. It began on the 20th March in Stockholm, Sweden and ended on the 6th June in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Five brand new songs were performed on the tour; ‘Valentine’, ‘Moving Along’, ‘Lie To Me’, ‘Talk Fast’, and ’Youngblood’, alongside recently released ‘Want You Back’. 

Throughout the tour over the next few months, many more announcements were made and tracks were released. Nearing the end of March, the hypnotic, colourful and aesthetically pleasing music video for ‘Want You Back’ was unveiled to the world. The video was unlike any we’d seen from the band before, but it showed their growth, as musicians, artists and individuals, from their previous album to now.

Just a few weeks after the official music video dropped, fans were gifted to an acoustic version of ‘Want You Back’.

Despite 5SOS playing the song on the promotional tour the past few weeks, no one knew the song they’d been singing was the album’s title track. Youngblood. It was official. 5SOS3 had a name and it was coming a lot sooner than any of us had anticipated.

Just a few days after the album’s announcement, the title track, ‘Youngblood’, was released as a promotional single. The track became widely talked about and gained positive criticism from musicians from all walks of life, including Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six. ‘Youngblood’ felt like a breath of fresh air in the world of 5SOS, while simultaneously retaining the essence of 5SOS we all know and love.

The hype surrounding ‘Youngblood’ continued to grow; an alternative, live video was released, with footage from their only European show of the promotional tour that took place at Heaven, a 1000 capacity venue in London.

Moving into May, a stripped back, acoustic rendition of ‘Youngblood’, featuring Luke backstage in Singapore, was released, and nearing the end of the month the track was officially made the second single from the album.

To kick off June, a full band acoustic version of ‘Youngblood’ was released to the world, and it’s definitely one of the best acoustics 5SOS have ever done.

We’re about to get heavy on the statistics with this one, so brace yourselves! ’Youngblood’ became 5SOS’ second number one single in their home country, spending eight consecutive weeks at the top. The track also reached number one in New Zealand, spending four consecutive weeks at the top. For the rest of the world, it reached the top 10 in 11 countries, including top four in the UK and Canada, and number seven in the United States, making it their first top 10 single in Canada and the US.

On the radio charts, the song became the band’s first single to top the US’ Mainstream Top 40 chart and Adult Pop Songs chart, for five consecutive weeks and two consecutive weeks, respectively. It also topped Canada’s Contemporary Hit Radio/Top 40 Airplay chart for four consecutive weeks. ‘Youngblood’ has been certified 6x platinum in Australia, 2x platinum in New Zealand, Sweden and the US, platinum in Canada and the UK, and gold in Belgium, Brazil and Italy.

A mini-documentary series of sorts titled “Cocktail Chats” began in June on the band’s YouTube channel, with there being 7 episodes weekly. The miniseries was a chance for Ashton, Michael, Luke and Calum to talk about the songs on the album in a bit more, yet slightly intoxicated, detail.

The 5SOS III tour came to a close on the 6th June in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The past shows had definitely been emotional ones, as 5SOS hadn’t played such intimate venues in years. Fans were provided with experiences that’ll never be forgotten, especially since anyone who attended these shows were amongst the first crowds to hear brand new and upcoming songs from 5SOS’ third album. It was a memorable tour and in true 5 Seconds of Summer fashion, it can be revisited through tour diaries on the band’s YouTube Channel, made by photographer and videographer Andy DeLuca.

Originally scheduled for the 22nd June, Youngblood was released a week earlier on the 15th June. 5 Seconds of Summer continue to astonish us with each album released. All of them are incredible, each one individually representing a certain point in time and serving different purposes. Rather than delving deep into one genre, Youngblood dips its toes into multiple, showcasing that Ashton, Michael, Luke and Calum’s ability is transcendent; it knows no bounds and overall make something completely unique. Each member brings a part of themselves into the music and this is ever more evident in Youngblood. Some aspects were sounds we’d not heard from the band previously, it was maturer, yet it still felt familiar, it still felt like the home we’ve found within 5SOS.

Youngblood became 5 Seconds of Summer’s third number one album in both Australia and America, making them the first Australian act to achieve three number one albums on Billboard 200, and the first non-vocal group to have their first three full-length albums debut at the top of the charts in the US. The band also became the first Australian act since 2011 to top both the ARIA Albums and Singles Chart at the same time. Youngblood debuted at number 2 in New Zealand and number 3 in the UK. Overall, it reached the top 10 in 20 countries.

Prior to the album’s release, 5SOS teamed up with Apple Music to make ‘On The Record: 5 Seconds of Summer — Youngblood’, a documentary that features interviews about the making of the album. On the release date of the album, Apple Music organised a one-off show for fans in New York to showcase the documentary.

In another celebration of the album’s release, the band collaborated with Tumblr IRL and organised an intimate live event for their fans on the 25th June in Brooklyn, New York. The event was a one-of-a-kind immersive experience, that brought Youngblood to life through radiant light design, projections, and a holographic photo booth by artist Signe Pierce. Audience members were given a single rose to keep or toss on stage.

Photo by Laura June Kirsch via Tumblr.

Although a video for ‘Youngblood’ was released earlier in the year, the official music video was revealed to the world at the beginning of August. It tells the story of an everlasting love whilst exploring Japanese biker culture.

As a part of Spotify Singles, 5SOS performed a stripped back rendition of ‘Lie To Me’, along with a beautiful, yet heart-wrenching, cover of Post Malone’s ‘Stay’.

The band also featured on Spotify’s Under Cover Podcast, where they talked about the recording process in terms of putting a spin on the cover and making the song their own.

Before 5SOS had wrapped on the intimate, promotional tour, they already had another world tour in the works. Dates for the Meet You There tour were coming thick and fast and saw the band headlining a range of venues across the globe, with additional dates added for Glasgow, Manchester and London due to overwhelming demand. The Meet You There Tour began on the 2nd August in Osaka, Japan and concluded on the 19th November in Madrid, Spain.

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They had a stellar set-list, with ‘Babylon’, ’More’, ‘Why Won’t You Love Me’ and ‘Valentine’ all making the cut, as well as fan-favourites ‘Amnesia’, ’She’s Kinda Hot’ and ’Jet Black Heart’. She Looks So Perfect EP track, ‘The Only Reason’, was given its live debut on this tour, which, initially, was a shock, but seeing how fans have grown with 5 Seconds of Summer, there doesn’t seem to be a better time than now for ‘The Only Reason’ to shine, and we’re so glad it was given the love it deserves! The production for the Meet You There tour matched the aesthetic of the album perfectly, with a squared lighting rig that went around the outskirts of the stage and light bouncing off of reflectors, you were guaranteed an amazing show, no matter where you were in the venue. They closed the show with their debut single, ‘She Looks So Perfect’ and the third album’s title track, ‘Youngblood’.

Throughout the next few months, while the Meet You There tour was taking place, 5 Seconds of Summer continued to go above and beyond.

With each continent the band visited, they hosted a pop-up shop where exclusive merchandise for each location was available to buy, including posters, jumpers, t-shirts, bumbags and more. The first two took place in Osaka from the 1st to the 5th August, and Tokyo from the 1st to the 6th August. There were further pop-up stores held over the next few months in Sydney (9th August), LA (12th and 13th October) and London (27th and 28th October).

5 Seconds of Summer’s third single from the album came in the form of ‘Valentine’. Released officially as a single on the 26th August, the video dropped a few weeks later on the 14th September. Ashton Irwin had his debut at directing a music video with the help of their tour photographer and videographer, Andy DeLuca. Ashton and Andy’s combined efforts created something magical, something that completely captures the vibe of ‘Valentine’. 

It’s well known 5 Seconds of Summer have an inseparable connection with their fans; the fans are there for the band just as the band will be there for the fans (cue Michael’s iconic “real bands save fans, real fans save bands” tweet). Music is cathartic. Music can help individuals realise or overcome struggles, and music can be there purely to bring joy. However, meeting or talking to your favourite band, being able to explain their importance to you, no matter how big or small, is hard to come by. To try and change that, 5SOS created an email address that anyone can message. Whenever they can, they’ll read and respond to as many messages as possible.

On the 26th October, 5 Seconds of Summer released their cover of Queen’s legendary ‘Killer Queen’, to celebrate the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic about Queen and Freddie Mercury’s life. Profits from the single go to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an organisation founded by Queen members Brian May and Rodger Taylor, and Queen manager Jim Beach, after Freddie Mercury’s death to support the global fight against AIDS/HIV.

Queen’s manager, Jim Beach, has spoken about 5SOS’ cover, saying, “Everyone at the Mercury Phoenix Trust is thrilled that 5 Seconds of Summer have joined our global campaign fighting AIDS in celebration of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Thank you 5SOS for giving us such an impeccable version of Freddie’s classic Killer Queen.”

Not too long after the release of the cover, 5 Seconds of Summer shared a “making of” video showing the recording process behind their version of ‘Killer Queen’.

The Meet You There tour came to a close on the 19th November in Madrid, Spain, but that wasn’t signifying the end of the year for 5SOS. Calum, Ashton, Michael and Luke flew back home to Australia for the ARIAS Awards on the 29th November, where they performed ‘Youngblood’ and walked out beaming with three ARIAS awards. They won Song of the Year for ‘Youngblood’, Best Group and Best Australian Live Act. 5 Seconds of Summer should feel incredibly proud of themselves for all their achievements, in Australia and across the globe. They’re forever going to be winners in our eyes.

In addition to the three ARIAS Awards, 5SOS also won the 2018 Teen Choice Awards’ Choice Music Group, Choice Summer Group, and Choice Song: Group for ‘Youngblood’ and the 2018 MTV Europe Music Award’s Best Rock earlier in the year.

The 3rd December marks a special day for 5 Seconds of Summer, as it’s the day they formed as an official band in 2011. This year saw Michael, Ashton, Calum and Luke celebrate and reflect on the past 7 years they’ve been making music together and the journey they’ve been on. Despite being a band for coming close to 10 years, this feels like it’s only just the beginning for 5 Seconds of Summer.

As the end of the year came to a close, 5SOS unexpectedly dropped a live album and a single. On the same day. Within an hour of each other.

The Meet You There tour is immortalised in the form of Meet You There Tour Live, recorded on the 29th October 2018 at O2 Academy Brixton in London. Whether you went to the tour or missed out on attending, the live album will take you back to that night and make you feel as though you’re right there with them.

While fans were delving into the live album, 5SOS dropped a new single an hour later. We didn’t think ‘Lie To Me’ could get us any more emotional, but the newly re-recorded version featuring Julia Michaels adds a whole other layer to the song.

2018 was jam-packed for 5 Seconds of Summer, and we can’t forget some of their other notable performances throughout the year. They performed ‘Want You Back‘ and a cover of Zedd, Marren Morris and Grey’s ‘The Middle‘ at SiriusXM in February, ‘Youngblood’ and a cover of Alice Merton’s ‘No Roots’ at Radio 1’s Live Lounge in June, and performed on 24 Hours of Reality: Protect our Planet, Protect Ourselves by The Climate Reality Project in December, which is an organisation that helps raise awareness about the effects of climate change.

5SOS also performed at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Jingle Ball and MMVAs, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Sounds Like Friday Night, The Today Show and the Radio 1 Teen Awards, as well as at Nova’s Red Room and The Voice Australia.

The band did some interesting interviews in 2018, including one with Face Culture where they talked in depth about working with different producers and their future as a band, The Meme Review with Vevo UK, Dad Jokes with Universal Music Sweden and one where they talked about their tattoos with GQ. Michael, Luke, Calum and Ashton also stopped by Genius, where they provided their meaning and interpretations behind their two singles ‘Youngblood’ and ‘Valentine’. 5SOS had magazine covers with Alternative Press, Tings London, tmrw magazine and their first fashion feature with L’officiel.

We’ve said it plenty of times but it can’t be said enough, 5 Seconds of Summer have had a monumental and incredibly memorable year. They showed us how much they’ve grown, how much their musical ability has progressed, and how there is so much more to come in the world of 5 Seconds of Summer. 2018 flew by, but all the moments throughout last year added up to something spectacular, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next 365 days.

What was your favourite 5 Seconds of Summer moment from 2018? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook!

Written by Georgia Brown

A 20 year old from the UK. I like bands and video games. If you believe in music like I do, I'm sure we'll get on well.