Going back at least to “I Think We’re Alone Now,” pop music has always had room for teen acts that celebrate youth and insist that no one has ever felt what they’re feeling. But there’s something chillingly calculating about 5 Seconds of Summer’s debut, from the branded underwear shoutout in “She Looks So Perfect” to “End Up Here” featuring a drop-out in which a stadium full of teenagers is meant to clap to keep the beat going. (Lest you doubt the purity of its intentions, note that the Australian group has replaced “English Love Affair,” from the overseas version of its album, with a different song called “Mrs All American.”) The lyrics leave no room for subtext — “Good girls,” goes the kickiest song’s thesis, “are bad girls that haven’t been caught” — and the gleaming instrumentation sounds untouched by human hands. No wonder One Direction has toured with the group twice; 5 Seconds Of Summer can keep up, while never posing a threat. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Good Girls“
5 Seconds of Summer performs at Gillette Stadium Aug. 7-9.Marc Hirsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.