By Leighah Beausoleil
Luke Hemmings, lead vocalist of the Australian pop-punk band 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS), on Aug. 13 released his first solo album, “When Facing the Things We Turn Away From.”
Starting his singing career making cover videos on YouTube, Hemmings joined 5SOS when he was only 15 years old. Now, 10 years later, Hemmings is reflecting on his life and the time he has spent in the spotlight.
“When the world shut down last year, I had a lot of time to reflect on my youth and the person I had been, who I’ve become, and who I wanted to be,” Hemmings told Apple Music. “It just so happens that the best way for me to face those things and process my thoughts is by writing songs.”
And that’s exactly what Hemmings did. This 12-track album is full of songs facing the life he’s lived and reflecting on how it has shaped him as a person.
The first track in the album is “Starting Line.” This was also the first single he released in promotion of the album, along with a music video July 9.
The song opens with a slow, steady piano as Hemmings voice enters singing softly the first verse. As he reaches the chorus, Hemmings’ voice grows louder into his usual singing voice only to continue increasing until he is yelling the final lyric of the chorus, “I think I missed the gun at the starting line.”
The vocals break into the instrumentals of the song now heavily filled with a drum beat.
The rhythm of the song with the build of vocals creates a satisfying flow of sound that instantly fills the listener with energy.
This build is also a nod to the building panic he reveals in the chorus as he feels time is passing too quickly, whereas the first verse was soft and reflective of his memories.
Hemmings reveals he feels he is missing out on a life of memories, but he isn’t sure if they are his memories to be made. This unsureness is causing pressure as everyone in life seems to speed past him, with him feeling he has missed his mark.
The second track, “Saigon,” shows listeners where the album title comes from. Another moment of Hemmings’ reflection is demonstrated as he sings of chasing a happier time – acknowledging how people don’t realize how happy an experience had been until it becomes a memory.
The song has a much more steady sound than the last – setting the tone for the rest of the album – with most tracks having a much quieter quality than the first track.
The seventh track, “Mum,” is an apology to his mother for having been distant at times both physically and emotionally. Having left home so young to pursue his music career, it would make sense for Hemmings to carry some regrets when reflecting on his family during that portion of his youth.
The song is very powerful and full of emotion, with the chorus bearing a sound almost like modern day Christian worship music.
“I’m so heavy / Jump into my ocean / Can’t you see me sinking? / Love that fear of falling / Don’t you know I’m too young? / Can’t you hear me calling you? / Nothing hurts me now”
The metaphor appears to represent the ocean as the life of fame Hemmings goes on to live, and falling deeper into the water’s depths as his success grows, increasing the distance between himself and his family.
The first line of the second verse being, “Mum, I’m sorry, I’m still falling,” demonstrates his continued success tied with his guilt for not being able to be around her as often as he’d like.
“I’ll be home December morning,” follows, with the start of 5SOS’s “No Shame” Tour beginning in Australia Nov. 26 into early December – the first time he will be able to see his mother in approximately two years due to the pandemic.
The song is very heartfelt and full of emotions, with a beautiful rhythm to it – easily making it my favorite track from the album.
The 10th track, “A Beautiful Dream,” was a bit di`cult to enjoy at first, with the lyrics being
undistinguishable due to some effect placed on Hemmings’ voice. However, despite the song’s flaws, listeners can’t help but feel the power and emotion the song emits.
The lyrics end midsong with the instrumentals breaking into this beautiful moment that can only ever seem to be felt during an important cinematic moment. As the drum beat pounds down powerfully, it is impossible to let earlier indiscretions affect the overall beauty of this track.
It may be my least favorite on the album, but it is still a favorite.
Hemmings faces his life beautifully.