Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

5 Seconds of Summer – Wildflower

As opposed to 2020, with its 5 seconds of spring…


Joshua Lu: The longer a 5 Seconds of Summer era trudges on, the closer to traditional pop pap their singles become. Youngblood‘s final single was “Lie to Me,” which could’ve easily doubled as a One Direction song, and with Calm‘s “Wildflower,” they now seem to have found inspiration in Walk the Moon. There are worse places to find inspiration, and the easygoing, echoey chorus is addicting regardless of who’s singing it. But it’s still decidedly the least exciting single from this album cycle.

Katherine St Asaph: The natural endpoint for any successful rock band in 2020 is a lucite chimera of the Jonas Brothers and Rusted Root. The sound is blissed-out but a plateau, which is maybe why “Wildflower” does the same damn thing for ages.

Will Adams: The verse offers a glossy yet hazy sheen — not unlike what producer Oscar Görres provided Troye Sivan — that’s to be expected at the tail end of the chill-pop trend. But then the song lurches into sparkly funk-lite pop that feels less five seconds ago than five years: Nick Jonas, Taio Cruz, Jason Derulo, for starters.

Alfred Soto: Reflecting the Spotifying of our consumption, the sick chord and tempo changes on “Wildflower” suggest, sit down, Suzi Quatro, Dua Lipa, and Jonas Brothers. Chants, vocal swoops, boom boom bap — whew! This isn’t seduction — this is riding a Ferris wheel at knifepoint. 

Michael Hong: “Wildflower” sounds like a drug-induced dream — one extensively edited, because damn 5 Seconds of Summer if they don’t love a big hook. “Wildflower” carries itself at both paces, the slow blossom of the track in its psychedelic intro and the instrumental stabs that burst like pop fireworks and censor the track’s more suggestive ideas. Now that’s how you make acid-trip pop.

Scott Mildenhall: Like a VR vernal equinox, “Wildflower” glitches with all the choppiness of a self-rotating Rubik’s Cube, never doing anything so dull as having its colours align. The restlessness has no resolution — the cube just keeps spinning — but sating or not, it would suffer more for regimentation.

Oliver Maier: “Watermelon Sugar” in neon instead of oils; 5SoS translate Styles’ unbuttoned-shirt joie de vivre and taste for randy natural imagery into a shinier, livelier, somehow more disposable package. I dig it in the moment but can’t for the life of me remember how it goes later on.

Katie Gill: I have no idea why I love this song so much. Maybe because I’ve been missing fun, peppy pop music. Maybe because I’m a sucker for some perfectly placed handclaps. Maybe because that lower register “tell you what I like” absolutely makes the chorus. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful harmonies at the start and every time we hear the word “wildflower.” Maybe because at its core, ‘Wildflower’ is a silly boy band love song, and that’s a subgenre I’ve really missed on Western radio. Maybe it’s because I’ve been stuck in my goddamn apartment for two months and will take the smallest bit of fun and happiness I can get my hands on.

Edward Okulicz: Putting a stab over the saucy words is atrocious, unforgivable and extremely entertaining. It is bad taste in the best way, like what I expected Harry Styles to do before he turned out to be tasteful and flavourless. Possibly too tricksy to get a handle on, and I don’t love the “waaaahhlld-floooowuhhh” bits — again, how are these vowels coming out of a bunch of Western Sydney posh boys? — but I can take plenty of repetitions of that chorus. Besides, “Youngblood” was a critically underrated single. Time to give these boys some props.

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