The second studio album from American band R5 was released this past Friday, July 10, 2015. The band, comprised of siblings Ross Lynch (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Riker Lynch (bass/vocals), Rocky Lynch (guitar/vocals), and Rydel Lynch (keyboard/vocals) as well as family friend Ellington Ratliff (drums/vocals), formed in 2009 and has since released 3 EPs as well as their debut album in 2013. The group took its time crafting a more mature set of compositions for the sophomore record, which seems to have paid off as Sometime Last Night is currently #3 on the iTunes Top Pop Albums chart.
The album starts off with “All Night”, the third single off the latest album. It’s an upbeat pop track complete with driving, repetitive drum rhythms, strong electric guitar melodies, and dynamic vocals courtesy of Ross. Vocal harmonies are well executed during each chorus and during the bridge, giving a chant-like quality to the lyrics. “Wild Hearts” follows, which again displays thoughtfully arranged vocal harmonies. The piece is much more mellow than the opening track, complete with a slower tempo utilized during the choruses complimenting the lyrics “slow it down”, yet still exciting due to the more spoken lyrics in the verses. The next song is “Dark Side”. Unlike its title indicates, the track is fast paced from the first beat and maintains its energy throughout. More electronic elements are used to enhance the instrumental melody, easily convincing the listener to get up and dance along.
“All Night” music video
“Let’s Not Be Alone Tonight” is the second single from the album. It’s not difficult to see why the track was successful on mainstream radio, thanks to the catchy chorus as well as the simple verses. The pre-choruses are deconstructed with guitar and keyboard chords as well as kick drum hits on the downbeat, generating tension leading up to the big lead vocals. “Repeating Days” is a stark contrast to the beginning of the album, as it features more raw and desperate vocals to reflect the heartbreak scene it illustrates. The electric guitar is worth tracing throughout the tune, as it repeats rhythms and gives the song a calming feeling that balances out the sadness of the lyrics. In a surprise twist, when the song appears to be over, the track is completely stripped down with Ross’s live voice and a simple acoustic guitar melody to compliment him. Not only is the end of the song unexpected, but it also reflects a change in the lyrics. The song goes from wanting a girl back and still loving her after separating to “this time I’m not coming back for you.”
“Let’s Not Be Alone Tonight” live acoustic performance
“Smile”, the debut single from the album, is another fun and upbeat tune with an equally carefree and lighthearted music video. “Lightning Strikes” is a more rock influenced track, featuring Rydel as the lead vocal. This difference adds a nice touch to the album, as the full diversity and range of talent among the band members is displayed. The song is completed by a sharp electric guitar solo to show off Rocky’s skills on the instrument, furthering the rock sound of the piece. “F.E.E.L. G.O.O.D.” begins with a haunting melody and changes to powerful, dance rhythms during the choruses. “I Know You Got Away” is mysterious as the bass anchors down the melody while the lead vocal is more subtle until the chorus, which allows for all of the vocals to reach higher dynamics and elicits a call and response with the lyric between the lead and backing vocals. “Do It Again” and “Did You Have Your Fun?” round up the entire album well, as both of the songs reflect the lyrical tendencies of the group that are focused on the good and bad of relationships as well as their classic rock and pop infused sound.
“Smile” music video
Although the age of the band members as well as the vibe of their songs attract mostly a young, female crowd, there is little doubt that their songs and messages are relevant to men and women of all ages. While the pop label on the album may lead to some preconceived notions, it is evident that all of the tracks were created and produced with care and should not be written off due to a simple genre affiliation. Each song has unique qualities and at least one is bound to catch your attention. So take a listen and keep an open mind.
- All Night
- Wild Hearts
- Dark Side
- Let’s Not Be Alone Tonight
- Repeating Days
- Lightning Strikes
- F.E.E.L. G.O.O.D.
- I Know You Got Away
- Do It Again
- Did You Have Your Fun?
To catch R5 on tour in support of the new album, check out this list of upcoming dates to find a show near you and purchase tickets.