This or That: One Direction or 5 Seconds of Summer

THIS or THAT explores the world of music and attempts to decide, you know, if this is the thing and if that is just that. This week it’s 1D or 5SoS!

Honestly, do you know which one is which?
Honestly, do you know which one is which?

The pop music’s boy band game seems to be as strong as ever. That good old tradition of mixing the cute one with the hot one with the bad ass with the mysterious one and maybe that wacky one too. We’ve seen them come and seen them go, and right now it looks like powerhouse One Direction is on the way out while 5 Seconds of Summer is making a play for that coveted top spot with 10-year-old girls and weird 40-year-old men (cough cough). Is this really the case with their recent big singles? Let’s find out who’s really got THIS.

Well One Direction sure got that ankle-level camera while standing in a big windy open space thing down. And if you were afraid that epic arm-spreading and dramatic pointing was an art lost to the K-pop scene, then fear not, 1D has thankfully breathed new life into it for the 105 million viewers of this video. All those pre-teen girl fans (or young gay men if you are to believe the Larry-shipers conspiracy) are definitely being mesmerised by the direct address in the chorus that states how with ‘your’ love “Nobody Can Drag Me Down” while those creepy British bro-stares are making millions feel like they are at the centre of a YouTube ad revenue-funded spinning gang-bang.

Gotta give them points for the whole ‘Space Camp’ vibe though. But, I mean, you kind of want to watch a Don Cherry hockey fights compilation tape after sitting through this video just to remind yourself that guys haven’t been completely feminised. On the other hand if 1D is a hard-bleached update on the Backstreet Boys then 5 Seconds of Summer is like a Nickelodeon Sum 41.

5SoS are no doubt followers of the ‘literal lyrics’ trend as I doubt there is much subtlety to that repeating “She’s Kinda Hot” chorus that hedges around the ‘hotness’ of ‘she’ that apparently makes up for her annoyingness at least. I’ll give them credit, they ARE saying something us guys are always thinking, am I right? And at a time when we’re supposed to recognise the ‘genius’ and ‘beauty’ of a Lena Dunham or Gabourey Sidibe, these dudes are going all Baywatch with their evals.

However, the song strangely then transitions from praising the good looks of nagging chicks to becoming an anthem for losers by rhyming that hot-take song title with “He’s got a shot though” talking about a dude who quit college but still has big dreams, and how “We’re alright though” to proclaim that THIS spirit of the youth is gonna do things their way, since they are the “kings and queens of the new broken scene”… uh, right.

Speaking of co-opting a sound, if you thought the aforementioned Sum 41 was water-ed Green Day then 5 Seconds of Summer is gonna make you feel like you’re drinking the punk equivalent of an iced cookie frappuccino where all the ice has melted. Hey-O!

I gotta figure One Direction at least continues along with a satisfactorily bland brand of that mediocre ‘boy band’ tradition, and being (for the moment at least) a ton less into-the-camera ‘oh yeah’ cutesy than 5SoS, I’ve got to say – 1D you’ve got THIS this week. And that means as much as 5 Seconds of Summer attempt to get on our good side with the line “They say we’re losers and we’re alright with that” we don’t believe for a second you’ve ever been called losers like those of us here at Dr. Loser, so if you’re okay with “that” then 5 Seconds of Summer you won’t mind being THAT loser for the week!


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