5 Seconds of Summer is a pop-rock band from from the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, comprising vocalist Luke Hemmings, guitarist Michael Clifford, bassist Calum Hood and drummer Ashton Irwin. The group was formed in December 2011 when schoolmates Luke, Michael and Calum started posting videos of themselves performing covers of popular songs to YouTube. They were soon joined by Ashton and quickly gained a large following on Twitter and Facebook.
The quartet spent the second half of 2012 writing and developing before releasing their Somewhere New EP at the end of the year, reaching the Top 40 of the New Zealand album chart. One Direction had been following 5 Seconds of Summer's career for some time and the Australian quartet spent much of 2013 supporting the guys on their worldwide Take Me Home tour.
This is 5 Seconds Of Summer's debut worldwide single, after signing to to Capitol Records. The tune topped 38 iTunes charts across the globe with the pre-order, making it a contender for "song of the summer."
The instant success thrust the band into the spotlight and onto the Tumblrs of their (mostly) female fans. With the exception of their drummer Ashton Irwin, who was 20, every member of the group was a teenager when the song hit. They fought the "boy band" label from the start, explaining that they wrote their own songs, with every member contributing to the process. The credited writers on this track are Irwin, the band's guitarist Michael Clifford and Jake Sinclair, who also produced the track and contributed guitar and backing vocals.
So why 5 Seconds Of Summer? Michael told Digital Spy
: "I suggested the name and everyone hated it! I wanted to make a name where everyone could put their name into it, and it has a cool abbreviation."
"There's nothing symbolic about it unfortunately," he added. "Normally we tell people we fought with dragons and stuff. We'll come up with a cool story and get back to you."
The music video was directed by Frank Borin and gained over 1 million views within 24 hours of its release on February 24, 2014. Asked by Coup de Main magazine about the inspiration for the clip, Michael replied: "I guess we were just looking around for ideas for the video stuff, and the director Frank came to us with this idea of the song just making people want to take their clothes off or something? And we were like… Alright, that's amazing!"
The band wrote this song with Jake Sinclair, who also produced that track and added guitar and backing vocals. It was Sinclair who came up with the memorable lyric: "She looks so perfect standing there in my American Apparel underwear."
That line was inspired by a time when Sinclair's girlfriend forgot her underwear, so she wore his. He warned the band that he had a weird concept before pitching them the line, which didn't go over well with Michael Clifford, but Ashton Irwin loved it and pushed it through. "I loved it because it was quirky," Irwin told Rolling Stone. "I knew it was gonna break us."
After this song hit, American Apparel saw a 10 percent spike in sales of their briefs.
The song's lyrics are exceptionally goofy, but insanely catchy and somewhat nostalgic. The line, "I made a mixtape straight out of '94, I've got your ripped skinny jeans lying on the floor" proved especially popular, with the band playing it up by wearing skinny jeans in the video and often making appearances under a "Mixtape '94" sign. The band claims inspiration from '90s acts like blink-182 and Green Day.
5 Seconds of Summer were the first multi-member Australian group to top the UK singles chart since Madison Avenue spent a week at #1 with "Don't Call Me Baby
" in May 2000.