It is May 2014. I am in my kitchen making myself a sandwich for school the next day when my mom and brother enter the house from the garage, laughing.
“Monique, you have to hear this song!”
“Yes, oh my gosh, it’s so funny! You have to hear it!”
I responded, “What are you guys talking about?”
“There’s this song on the radio with underwear in it! It’s hilarious!”
“What? That’s so weird,” I laughed.
“Next time it’s on the radio, we’ll point it out to you.”
(It was three years ago so who said what is blurry.)
Sometime soon after, when I was in the car with my mom and brother, the song came on. Of course, I did not know what “the song” was at the time and had never heard it. And I was tired of cookie-cutter pop songs. So I was not really paying attention to the radio. But some seconds later, my mom and brother freaked out, exclaiming, “This is the song! This is the song! Monique, this is the underwear song!”
Immediately, I started listening. I sat there, expecting to laugh really hard; instead, I was intrigued. I had not heard anything like it before and I partly liked and partly disliked it. So, I was confused–in a good way, of course. I just sat there listening, soaking it in.
As soon as the chorus came on, my mom and brother exclaimed, “Here it is! Here’s the underwear part! Here’s the underwear part! Monique, here it comes.”
But the “underwear part” came and went, and unlike my family, I was not laughing. On the contrary, I was shushing them.
I did not recognize this sound nor the instruments that created it, but I was mesmerized. In fact, I remember smiling on the inside. When the song was over, my family questioned my actions, but I downplayed my feelings by telling them I just wanted to listen.
It took a couple more listens before I remembered to look 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) up on YouTube, where I watched the music video to the underwear song, She Looks So Perfect, mortified. I was 14, so watching people strip in a music video was pretty scary. (Haha;P) However, watching that video was the start of the extension of my journey to find myself. Starting two years earlier I had really come together and gained self-confidence. I explored myself and I felt good. But when I started to not like pop music–the genre I had liked my entire life–I knew it was time to find myself, a new self, again.
That was just the beginning. I became obsessed with 5SOS for about a year. I never was one of those fans that wanted 5SOS to “have my babies,” but I could not stop watching their songs, videos, and interviews on YouTube as well as stalking them on social media and following fan accounts. When ticket sales when online for their first headlining tour–Rock Out With Your Socks Out (ROWYSO)–I spent months convincing my parents to let me go. When they finally did, I was filled with the greatest feeling of happiness and excitement I have ever felt. After all, it was my first concert. And I had a fabulous time one year later when I attended.
Over time, I became “unobsessed” with 5SOS, though never lost my love and admiration for them and their music. I continued to buy their music, merch, books, and their documentary. Also, finding myself to love their pop punk/pop rock sound, I transformed my music taste to edgy music. I became a little black star (Avril Lavigne fan) and continued to explore my music and fashion taste through Avril’s and 5SOS’s beings. My attitude also changed as I learned more about myself.
Not long after the first concert, 5SOS released their second album along with tickets to their new Sounds Live Feels Live (SLFL) tour. Of course, I bought both, but since I was in the very back row of the second section and could barely see the ants that were 5SOS performing on stage at the ROWYSO tour show, I splurged and bought tickets in the eighth row. (My experience: https://freeelementblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/sounds-live-feels-live-concert-experience/) I was surprised to find myself dancing my heart out when at school dances I stand there awkwardly, but it just goes to show you the affect 5SOS made on me.
Lucky for me, the post-concert depression I felt after SLFL ended was matched by 5SOS’s release of their single She’s Kinda Hot (It was released before that, but I listened to the song a lot after the concert). I was nervous to listen to it because the title sounds superficial. However, 5SOS did not disappoint. (Meaning of the Song: https://freeelementblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/deep-songs-with-misleading-titles/)
My favorite line of the song goes “They say we’re losers and we’re alright with that.” Just like everyone else, even with my high self-esteem, I feel different and alone at times. She’s Kinda Hot struck a chord within me because it acknowledges that different/alone feeling, blows it out of the water, then brings everyone together to write it off. Plus, I love the music of that song, as it transitioned them to more of a rock genre. DID 5SOS NAIL IT OR WHAT?
Because of 5SOS, I deeply appreciate crossover artists. For people like me who only listen(ed) to pop music, it is the perfect way to expose them to different genres of music without scaring them off. It eases them into it, if that makes any sense. I am now into hard rock, country, and alternative–which I never could have guessed three years ago. Not only that, but 5SOS has instilled in me a new level of confidence I never knew existed. No matter if I like 5SOS and their music in the future, I will always be grateful for their contribution to my life as an early to mid teen.
As of now, I look forward to their third album and third headlining tour. I hope they continue on their streak of greatness. They just keep getting better.
So what does 5 Seconds of Summer mean to me? To me, 5 Seconds of Summer personifies confidence and authenticity, and I could not be more grateful.