Beyond The Song: ‘Carry On’ by 5SOS

‘Carry On’ is the last song, alongside ‘Outer Space’, on 5 Seconds Of Summer’s second studio album, Sounds Good Feels Good. The whole band have writing credits on the song. The song is not a single but is very much loved by fans. 5SOS played ‘Carry On’ as the opening song on their 2016 world tour, Sounds Live Feels Live.

To be clear, we’re only going to be covering ‘Carry On’ in this article. ‘Carry On’ has a very distinctive sound and is completely different to that on the rest of Sounds Good Feels Good. It sends out positive vibes, in a calm and relaxing way. It’s very light-hearted but truthful. One of the only ways we can describe it is like a very much needed hug from a friend.

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Before we get started, we would like to state that songs are down to interpretation, and this is just one of them. The meaning we think is behind this song is not fact, and we would hope that you enjoy reading it; possibly taking inspiration, or looking at the song in a different way to before.

Carry on, let the good times roll, sail on, let your path unfold

The first part of the song is quite positive. It seems to be all about surviving through something and pushing on. “Let the good times roll” explains how positive things will come, even if it doesn’t seem it; good times will continue or happen. “Sail on” has a really calming and chilled tone to it. It’s as though it’s a small amount of encouragement to continue your journey, whatever your own individual journey may be. The last line of this verse, “let your path unfold”, could be similar to our previous point; it might be words of encouragement to continue striving for whatever the goal of your journey may be. On the other hand, having a ‘path unfold’ may be a path you don’t expect. Sometimes the most unexpected things can happen which can seem like they change the direction of the journey, but it could have been where you were headed in the first place.

It won’t be long, won’t be long, won’t be long, you know it’s gonna get better, you know it’s gonna get better

The repetition of “won’t be long” reinforces the idea that good things will happen soon. It ‘won’t be long’ until you reach your goals and they’ll happen before you even realise it. “You know it’s gonna get better” is repeated too and uses the personal pronoun, ‘you’. The use of ‘you’ puts the listener into the song and makes it unique to the individual. The vibe we get from this part in the song is that everything’s going to be okay, which seems to be the general gist of the song. To put more emphasis on ‘you’, it’s reassuring the listener that they know everything will be fine, they know things will change and there will be positives and negatives, but in the end, it’s gonna be a journey in which they will come out on top. You’ve got to live through the bad times and push through them.

Say a prayer, for the broken bones, cause who cares, we’re all going home

We think that this verse is the most difficult one to decipher, as it’s not very explicit in terms of what it could mean. “Say a prayer, for the broken bones” is like it’s been taken into consideration how things/yourself/other people have been hurt, possibly when trying to stand up for yourself while striving for the direction you want your life to go in. “Cause who cares, we’re all going home” continues on from the last point because it’s accepting the situation. You’re not worrying about being hurt because you’ll be in a good place soon, or if you aren’t, you can try again; there’s always another day. Lastly in this section, ‘home’ isn’t a universal and it’s different to everyone. But one common definition of ‘home’ is that it’s familiar and is a safe place. Furthering this, since “we’re all going home”, we can infer that it means we’re going back to somewhere safe, the place we call home, where we know things can never be bad. A sort of escapism.

I got one foot in the golden life, one foot in the gutter, so close to the other side, so far from the wonder

The use of ‘I’ is similar to the use of ‘you’ as they both put the listener in the song, each individual can make it fit appropriately to them. The “golden life” and the “gutter” could be how an individual sees their life separated into two. Therefore, the “golden life” is all the good, positive things, where everything is close to perfect and how you want it. However, even though you could be doing something extravagant, there’s also the “gutter” which might represent the struggles you face. As good as things may be, there’s always a part of you that will see the bad. It’s important to recognise and highlight the struggles we face so we can overcome them, but it’s also important to not completely ignore the fact that there will be problems, whether that’s emotionally, physically, economically, etc. In the context of 5SOS as a band, being “so close to the other side” could mean the music industry. They could be close to achieving their full potential as a band, but they aren’t there yet. Continuing on in this context, “so far from the wonder” may perhaps suggest that the position they’re in as a band at the moment means they’re knowledgeable enough in that topic to not wonder about what being in a full-time band is like. You can apply this version of the meaning to pretty much any situation an individual may be in, which makes it personal to the individual listener.

I got one foot in the golden life, one foot in the gutter, so sick of the tug of war, that keeps pulling me under

As we’ve explained the first two lines in this verse already, we will not repeat them again. This part of the song is like a negative version of the above. “So close to the other side, so far from the wonder” is quite positive in comparison to “so sick of the tug of war, that keeps pulling me under”. It implies that the character within the song is fed up of not being taken seriously. The ‘tug of war’ possibly meaning between yourself and either good or bad things. You could be battling with the good things, and losing, or you could be battling with the bad things and still losing. Additionally, it could be that you aren’t the one part of the tug of war, but somewhere in between. There could be people choosing the options for you and they’re the ones on each end of the tug of war. The ‘tug of war’ between yourself, or possibly others, and things you want is tiring. Being “pulled under” has connotations of water and drowning, which are often used to describe when things aren’t going right in an individual’s life. They feel as if they have no control. Therefore, “the tug of war that keeps pulling me under” suggests that they’re being pulled in two different directions, neither of which they want.

Let the good times roll, let the good times roll

Although these are only two lines, it’s a very vital part structurally. It comes straight after a realistic, negative verse. From that, we can tell that the song is still encouraging the listener to know and believe that good times are yet to come, no matter how bad things can get.

Carry on, outlast the ignorance, moving on, survive the innocence

This is the last part of our analysis into the meaning behind ‘Carry On’. This verse is very similar to the beginning, so it wraps up the song before continuing the ending. “Outlast the ignorance” is saying to push through something, for example, people who put you down or don’t take you seriously, whether that’s because of the path you want your future to take or simply because of who you are. Whereas, “survive the innocence” suggests that in life, you’re going to be faced with harsh realities in the future. ‘Surviving the innocence’ we think would mean surviving the good things you have at the moment, the times where you aren’t faced with the brutal ‘real world’. Like in the very first verse, “carry on” is the same, but this time, it says “moving on” instead of “sail on”. This is quite substantial as “sail on” has connotations of flowing through something, whereas, “moving on” has connotations of change and not staying the same. This implies that as the song has progressed, the message being put across is that once you’ve found your path, things will change, you’ll be moving on (excuse the pun) with your journey and entering a new chapter in your life, i.e. any type of individual progress is good.


Overall, ‘Carry On’ is very realistic, yet personal. Things may not go as planned but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t mean to happen, or that it won’t get better. The message we think being put across is that as long as you’re determined, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve, and that there will be people who will not agree with you or aren’t willing to listen/support you, but you need to be the one to take control, even when things get hazy, you can still come out on top in the end. It’s the last song on the album, and ends with a chorus of 5SOS harmonising while singing, “it won’t be long, you know it’s gonna get better”. As we mentioned at the very beginning, this song is like a well-needed hug from a friend, and who wouldn’t want a hug from 5SOS?

What’s your interpretation of ‘Carry On’ by 5 Seconds Of Summer? 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.