Beyond the Song: Permanent Vacation – 5 Seconds of Summer

Sounds Good Feels Good  was released while some of us were only a few months into the new school year, but something tells us that we weren’t the only ones blasting “Permanent Vacation” after (or perhaps during) those late-night study sessions.

They started playing the song live before the release of the album during their Rock Out With Your Socks Out Tour last year, and it quickly became a fan favourite.

People love “Permanent Vacation” because it’s so much more than a song that teenagers can connect with while they’re hunched over homework for hours a day, or when the walls of a cubicle start closing in. It’s a song about living in a dysfunctional world that we’re trying to get out of, a song about freedom that’s sending a message about today’s society and how it’s affecting the world’s youth. It’s an anthem of defiance against a system of conformity. In relation to 5SOS’ other music, it’s the older brother of “Rejects”, “Social Casualty” and “Independence Day”.

While 5SOS have cite many iconic bands as primary influences, “Permanent Vacation” is reminiscent of some of Green Day’s politically charged tracks released in the 2000’s. Most of this song was written by the one and only Michael Clifford. He doesn’t stop at simply suggesting that there’s something wrong with the system we’re living in – he’s getting straight to the point, and we’re hearing him loud and clear.

You say that I’m too complicated, hung up and mis-educated. I say 9 to 5 is overrated, and we all fall down. I can’t sleep ’cause my mind keeps racing, my chest hurts ’cause my heart keeps breaking. I’m so numb and I can’t stop shaking, and we all fall down. 

The routine so many of us have been taught to strive for isn’t for everyone. We now know that there are so many jobs out there that aren’t the usual sitting down in an office from 9 to 5, since there are so many newer jobs we have today didn’t even exist in our parents’ time. On top of going through the adventure of self-identity and learning the ropes of life, pushing youth to fit certain ideals and shoving their creativity into a cage does more harm than good.

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.

The band isn’t just going on about everything that’s wrong with the world and its expectations. Despite knowing that they don’t fit into the mold that’s been set, they’re doing just fine. In fact, they’re embracing the fact they’re different and they’re searching for a better place. This is a theme that we’re loving throughout the album with other songs such as “She’s Kinda Hot”.

Voices coming through the speaker, they can’t make me a believer. I know I’m an under-achiever, and we’re all so proud. Watch out, I think we’re going under. Right now, you’re just another number. Get out, the system’s in the gutter and we’re all so proud.

Especially with more methods of communication with the development of new technology daily, we have messages tossed at us daily telling us how to think, act, and feel. It could be from magazines force-feeding us their photoshopped body image ideal to newspapers giving us their different views on political campaigns.

Through it all, we need to learn to live life without following every other voice we hear. A magazine won’t check up to see if their “5 Secrets to a Flat Stomach” have worked.You’re just a number, one of many subscribers. Take control of your life and make your own informed decisions!

Congratulations, your imitations are taking over the radio stations. Corporations, calculations, we’re the voice of the new generation.

Do you ever feel life you’ve seen or heard the same thing over and over again? It’s not just Campbell soup cans that are being mass-produced and distributed worldwide. We’re living in a world with two goals: Make a lot of everything, and to make a lot of money from everything. As much as we hate to admit it, some of the music we’re hearing on mainstream radio stations can start to sound similar. Let’s not even start about media ownership.

But 5 Seconds of Summer has a message for the corporations that are running the nation: we’re the voice of the new generation. We have the power to turn things around. “Permanent Vacation” isn’t just a fun song to yell when you can’t wait for the school year of your work day to end, it’s one that’s sparking a fire for change.

What’s your take on “Permanent Vacation”? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix or @CelebMix5SOS.



Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

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