5 Seconds of Summer: The Great Punk Rock Debate

5 Seconds of Summer, the Australian band whose record label┬áhas titled “the biggest band that no one’s ever heard of”, has millions of loyal followers across the globe. Many have dubbed the Aussie group a boy band, while others argue on the contrary. I’m here to lay down the facts for both sides of the argument and let you make a decision of your own.

The Boy Band Argument: Despite their all black edgy exterior the four boys are kids at heart that just want to cuddle. Their songs seem to follow the criteria of One Direction’s, no swears and no explicit references to sex. In their cover of Green Day’s American Idiot, they censor the song taking out the word f**k. While this could be to appeal to their younger demographic, a true punk rock band wouldn’t give a damn about pleasing a wider audience and would instead make the music that they wanted. While like many stereotypical boybands, the 5sos boys don’t dress the same, they all seem to follow the same dress code; black, black, and more black. However wearing tight black skinny jeans in no way makes you punk rock.

One of the more influential parts of this argument comes from the fact that they opened for One Direction on not one, but two world tours. While the first time around was most likely a way for the band to get some major publicity and to get their name out to a wider audience, the fact that they were a music group made up of four boys made it hard to dispute the boy band argument. Following classic boy band stereo type, the 5 Seconds of Summer fan base is primarily teenage girls. While this isn’t a bad thing, it really doesn’t help the band that claims to be punk rock. However, would it really be the worst thing to be classified as a boy band. These four guys get to live their dream and play their music for the world, it doesn’t really matter what their title is as long as they keep doing what they love.

The Punk Rock Argument: The band has said to be influenced by artists such as Green Day and Blink-182, two bands that are far from boy bands. These four boys follow the traditional set up for a punk rock band, they are a quartet with a drummer, bass player, lead guitarist, and a lead singer. They don’t have choreographed dance moves, and they don’t all sing (all of the time anyways). They don’t seem to care as much about keeping it clean for the kids like One Direction, on their social media posts, in videos, etc., they don’t refrain from using profanity adding to their punk rock vibe. Their song English Love Affair all but says whoever this was had sex with that girl. The line ‘drinking all the way to third base’ wouldn’t be found in any One Direction song.

The Tumblr post below seems to be arguing that their questionable punk rock status comes from their difficult management. Managed by the same team as One Direction, it is possible that the 5sos boys are being pushed in a direction they don’t want to follow. If this is the case, 5sos would be better off finding new management. Just by playing their instruments they are stepping away from the boy band title. Their edgier songs like Reject and Social Casualty talk about not fitting in and aren’t the typical love songs we would expect from bands like One Direction. Their care free attitudes, band tees, and edgy tracks offer a sound argument for those wishing to press the punk rock side of things.

Regardless of what you think, 5 Seconds of Summer is a talented band and I expect to see them thrive for many years to come. Both sides have fair arguments and in the end does it really matter? If you love their music then don’t let any label stand in your way. Boy band or punk rock band listen to the music you love. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

– Mollie

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Maybe it’s management.
2014 Billboard Music Awards - Show
Not your average boy band.
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