In December of 2020, Rolling Stone Australia released a special edition issue which looks at the 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time, paying tribute to the best and most impactful artists in Australian music history. While it would have been easy for the editors and writers of the publication to profess their love of the listed artists, the decision was instead made for those who found themselves inspired by these world-renowned names to share their own testimonials of why these artists deserve to make the list.
In celebration of the issue’s release in December, we’re counting down the full 50 artists and their accompanying testimonials in this ongoing online feature. If you want to get your hands on an physical copy of the magazine, be sure to subscribe now to experience the double-length edition featuring some of Australia’s best and brightest discussing the finest names in local music.
50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time – #16: 5 Seconds of Summer (by CXLOE)
For so long, ‘pop’ was a dirty word; especially when coupled with ‘boy band’. In my eyes, 5 Seconds of Summer have completely dismantled these stigmas as one of the best acts to ever come out of Australia. I don’t think they’ve put a foot wrong. In the past, boy bands have usually played it safe to appeal to a wider audience.
So as a fellow pop artist, I am so in awe of the risks they take and the boundaries they push; sonically, lyrically and aesthetically. I also love that their audience spans across all ages. From 13-year-olds to 27-year-olds like myself! All of their songs have something, whether it’s a lyric or a melody we can sink our “Teeth” (also a great track) into.
“I am so in awe of the risks they take and the boundaries they push.”
With their roots being in punk, rock, I love the way they have paired this with pop and kept the sound so true to themselves. When you listen to “She Looks So Perfect”, which was released in 2014, and then “Youngblood” in 2018, you can distinctly hear how they have embraced the pop influence and integrated their rock roots.
I remember hearing “Youngblood” for the first time on my way to a recording session and thinking it was the coolest drum rhythm I’ve ever heard for a chorus. It was so fresh and so different. I can confidently say they gave me so much inspiration when writing my own music and confidence to push sounds that weren’t always commonly used or heard on the radio.
Every song after “Youngblood” got even better. “Ghost of You”, “Want You Back”, “Lie to Me”… all were nothing like you’ve ever heard before. What I like most about their music is that it’s pop, but with a twist. You can hear a rock influence throughout all of their songs but at the same time, none of them sounds the same.
Cohesion is something that is hoped for by an artist, but is usually really hard to achieve. With 5SOS, I can always tell what song is theirs but always be surprised at the same time.
I won’t lie, I’ve had their latest album, Calm, on repeat over the last year and it’s definitely gotten me through some tough moments. When lockdown was lifted in NSW, Australia I would often just drive and play “Wildflower” on repeat. GOD BLESS 5SOS. Thank God one good thing came out of 2020.