What are your favorite songs off CALM and why (lyrically, sonically, etc.)?
I would have to say “Lover of Mine” is my favorite non-single because I think it’s beautifully written and presents an image in my mind. It also makes me think and feel unconditional love. To have someone love you so much despite your shortcomings and that you love them mutually enough to finally stop pushing them away. It’s a song all about acceptance of yourself and the person you love.
My favorite single would be “Old Me.” I love when artists and people, in general, look back in their lives and recognize their mistakes–but use them to move forward. “Old Me” is all about acknowledging your old self and mistakes you may have made, but also thanking them and learning from them to be a better person.
My favorite song off of CALM is “Not In The Same Way” because I resonate with the meaning of it, especially with the lyrics: “I love you, you love me, but not in the same way”. In a relationship I was in, the words ‘I love you’ were used a lot but the other person didn’t mean them the way I did and I could tell. But its also one that I can dance to because of the beat and I just love it a lot.
Hmmm…it’s hard to choose. They’re all very good and I love them in different ways but if I had to choose one of them maybe “Old Me”? Lyrically speaking I connect to it because of the story it tells. It’s basically just like a reminder that you wouldn’t be where you are if you hadn’t lived the way you did or made mistakes. Not everything was perfect or fun but without it, you wouldn’t have been able to figure out who you are today. No matter how many people questioned you about your choices–yourself included– there is no way you wouldn’t repeat them. Every compromise, every price paid… it just formed you and made you learn more about yourself. Made you stronger. To me, it just speaks about accepting things for what they were and not living in the negative. At that moment in time that was who you were and what you needed. It got you to where you are today and there’s no need to be ashamed of it. Rather thankful because all those lessons – along with the memories – are what have taught you what works and doesn’t in your life and now you have a better idea of what you want.
At least that’s what I interpret. It’s one of the songs I instantly vibed with because I can easily identify with the sentiment behind it. I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and this song just explains my feelings in a very good way.
It’s hard not to love a song when you can feel it on a personal level so… yeah — “Old Me” for sure.
How would you describe each of the tracks off the album? What are your favorite things about each particular track?
“Red Desert” is a wonderful example of how amazing 5SOS is able to harmonize and their connection and love to their homeland. I love the visuals and color imagery it presents. I also love the harmonizing and drums.
“No Shame” is a song where you want to scream the lyric out on the top of your lungs. You get flashes of colors when listening to it. I love the bridge and the chorus within the song. It’s also a song where you want to get up and dance.
“Easier” is a stepping stone for 5SOS to transition into their new sound where it sounds darker. Luke’s high notes are memorizing. I love how steady the beat is.
“Teeth” is their darker and heavier single with a brilliant bass line and hard drumming. I love the darker sound and the bass throughout the song. I also love the guitar at the end and just overall how catchy the song is.
“Wildflower” is a feel-good song that makes you want to dance around the room when the beat comes on. My favorite part of the song is how simple the lyrics are, it makes it easier to learn and sing.
“Best Years” is a beautiful serenade with powerful imagery of a loving relationship and desire to be with one person forever. I love how it’s like the song is a thank you to the person you love for being there back when you weren’t the best person or not in the right headspace from a past relationship. I love how it also showcases real-life situations that could happen in a relationship.
“Not in the Same Way,“ while the beat and Luke’s voice sounds upbeat, the lyrics are darker and expose a toxic, yet addicting relationship. I love how the song makes you want to scream out the lyrics. I also love how it is a song that portrays a toxic relationship on both sides of the partnership.
“Thin White Lies” has a great sound with the bass and guitar. It starts out slow and soft and by the middle of the first verse picks up speed before a beat dropping at the chorus. I love how you just naturally sway throughout the song to the speed of the beat. Also, the bridge with little sound except for Luke’s vocals before the beat drops is my favorite part!
“Lonely Heart” starts off with a soft guitar but has a heavy beat in the chorus that makes you want to scream the lyrics. I love the beat and instruments throughout the song and the change in tones it goes through. I also love the background harmonies.
“High” is a slower song about wanting a person to like or love you. It has a narcissistic vibe to it but the soft sound makes the person seem vulnerable. I love how beautiful the lyrics are. My favorite is “I know I’ll never meet your expectations, but the picture that you paint of me looks better in your mind”.
Each track has its own unique kind of energy– “Red Desert” is such an uplifting song and I love the lyrics to it. “No Shame” is such a meaningful song as its calling out things celebrities do to stay relevant. “Old Me” is one I love so much because it makes me feel how much I’ve grown as a person and how everything I’ve done in the past has helped shape me. “Easier” is a song that I’d probably associate with a toxic relationship the most. “Teeth,” I think is of people being able to overcome the barriers of struggling.
“Red Desert” — Sonically speaking I think this one would be one of my tops from the album. The composition is just so astounding I can’t put it into words. It just draws you in from the first note. It’s a bit more metaphorical than the others if you ask me but basically, I interpret it searching that place you know? It’s hard to explain. People always say when you find the right kind of love in a person, be it romantic or not, you’ll find comfort and love and they’ll just feel like home. It’s not exactly the only interpretation you can give it but I see it as asking someone to leave behind everything holding them back. Just an invitation to not question things and run headfirst into the relationship. It may not be the case but I interpret the desert as sorta safe space for a flourishing relationship (hence the red) that is free of any and all distractions. Traveling through it is navigating through what you both have as best as you can and trusting each other not to get lost or something.
“No Shame” — Well this one is kinda duality of sorts. Some people say it’s about the music industry others say its purely romantic. To me, it’s a little of both. It follows the typical pattern of a toxic relationship where one is continually changing and giving up more to the other in order to continue getting attention and love. It’s set at that phase in the relationship where you know things are bad but you refuse to fully acknowledge it. Like no matter how sucky it is you can’t bring yourself to accept it fully so you continue in denial and go on with it for as long as you can.
“Easier” — I see this on as kind of a partner piece or continuation to No Shame. Like they hold the same tone thematically. This one just centers more around the questions roaming through you’re mind whether it’s all worth it or not when you know its meant to end at some point.
“Teeth” — While this one does follow the same themes as the other two I feel like it just talks about like relationships in general. Maybe the newer kind. Like when you realize love if confusing and can sometimes hurt. A lot of push and pull but in this case, it seems like you’re embracing it. Like even when it’s bad you can’t get enough of it.
“Wildflower” — Totally different pace from the others for sure. The others were a little harsher thematically and in tempo while this one is all good vibes and light. Definitely just all about enjoying the moment and the person you love. Chill but sexy at the same time and also kinda retro? Absolutely love it (but what’s new there).
“Best Years” — This song is definitely one to cry to. It’s absolutely precious. Just the sound its self is moving but add the lyrics and you’re done for. I think many of us found our wedding song with this one. It speaks to you. It’s a promise of love. Unconditional even through the mess. The lyrics clearly state that neither of you are perfect but even so want it all with them. You give everything you can and be the best version of yourself for that person because that’s what they deserve. I can’t describe it as anything other than beautiful. Like I said my wedding song right here. No questions.
“Not In The Same Way” — So back to toxic. Definitely just a push kinda thing. The song is pretty upbeat and hard not vibe with. 100% something to belt out at full volume. Probably not a song you can fully dance to but I can see a lot of us jumping around to it. I think we’ve all experienced a kind of love like this at one point even if not completely applicable to the lyrics itself. A lot of mixed feelings and going back and forth. It gives me on and off vibes.
“Lover Of Mine” — Melancholic. To me, it’s a song that represents a point in the relationship where you’re at a standstill. You’re analyzing the good and the bad and you just realize that you can’t live without the other person. Like no matter what they will always be one of the things you truly care about and want to keep. Even with every wrong done–they are probably the only good thing you’ve got and have consistently fought for. Doesn’t so much as to say it’s the end of things. It’s more of an internal monologue where you realize you’d be lost without them. It’s your fears speaking up in the back of your mind.
“Thin White Lies” — Obviously just someone feeds off of things they know is an illusion but being unable to go for anything real. It’s being lost and questioning yourself because you’re so deep in the lies and the commitment that you’ve put into believing them that its hard to recognize what’s true, even within yourself. The part that always gets me is “I don’t think I like me anymore, can someone tell me who I was before?”. I don’t know there’s a lot to unpack with this one. I could probably analyze it for days and keep finding more.
“Lonely Heart” — Again just acknowledging that if this person leaves you, you’ll be left with an empty void to fill. Heartache isn’t new to either of you but even knowing you could probably survive it you don’t want to face it. You just hope they continue finding reasons to stay. And if they don’t, you’ll probably resign yourself to watching them go but will forever wish for another go at things. The second verse is sung with a lot of emotion when begging for just another moment of bliss.
“High” — Well the album started at a high and ended at a low. Big sad. Yet another cryer. God this one hits home. Yes as always applicable to relationships but not exclusively romantic. For me its a song you can listen to and just think of so many people that are no longer in your life for one reason or another. Whether they pushed you away or the other way around or life circumstances have made it impossible to be together, you’re gonna have a moment where you just think about them. Recent or not their absence in your life has you questioning how they are and if they sometimes think of you. What they remember, what they say to others if you’re mentioned, if other people remind them of you… deep down you hope its all positive. You wish you can show you’re trying to be better than before even if it’s not completely true.
“Kill My Time” — Let me start by saying its a complete crime that this song isn’t included in the album because its a total bop. Speaks about finding someone and not wanting to share them with anyone else. Feeling alive with them but fearing to know you might fade into the background for them. You might not mean as much to them and you want more. You want something real. Something permanent I guess. The tune itself is wonderful to just cruise around. Like I said total shame it’s not even on Spotify yet.
And a final message that truly sums up everything (courtesy of the lovely @Lia_in_bloom);
These are just my interpretations but I’m sure there are others that can be found. This whole album is a show of just how well mastered these boys are at weaving intricate stories and messages. You just keep on finding more in each listen and I’m not just talking about the writing. Just closing your eyes and letting it play, numbing out the words you have memorized, you can find new pieces just waiting there to be found and appreciated. A certain beat of the drums, a specific riff, a flawless background vocal. I’ve never stopped to fully dig deep into songs in such a thorough way until this album and it excited me because now I can go back to listening to other music and find a new appreciation thanks to it.
The different range of sound and style throughout it is amazing. People who didn’t know any better could mistake a few for being separate bands. It’s just that good. 5SOS truly outdid themselves with this one. The hard work the put into it for two or so years really paid off and their drive to just keep on evolving and experiment while still staying true to themselves truly shows. I’ve loved all their albums but this one is so special because of the growth it has shown as artists and as people. They always go all in and give you little glimpses of vulnerability or genuine feeling in their songs whether it be through pure sound or a lyric. They’ve always stayed true to this no matter their sound but they somehow keep getting better. They have a way of capturing you.
Also, this album just means a lot to us all as a whole because of what it represents. It already had so much meaning before but now its become so much more. I view it as a gift and a sign of trust. The album could have flopped. They could have easily pushed back the release like other artist but they saw that we needed it in these times. We needed something to hold onto and they just wanted to share it with us. They put their trust in us that we would respond with just as much love and support as they were showing us and I am so glad they did. I don’t think I would have gotten through quarantine as well as I have without it. As always they somehow manage to bring out something at the exact moment I need it most. It happened so many times throughout the years I’ve followed them that I no longer question how the universe works. All I know is that I feel very blessed and grateful that they continue to bring us music that resonates so deeply with us. CALM is just a symbol of unity for me for very obvious reasons I don’t think I need to disclose. All I can say is the boys did wonderfully and it will forever hold a special place in my heart.