For teen-pop artists who want to be respected beyond their initial youthful fan base, an edgier, more risqué image is necessary. For 5 Seconds of Summer, that seems to be the pathway they are trying to travel. Arguably, this was likely the M.O. from the beginning of their career, but as the band ‘matures,’ it’s definitely the script they’d like to paint and follow. What’s the best way to gain respect from older audiences? Strip.
Okay, okay, an explanation is required with the snarky “strip” comment. But honestly, that’s what the Aussie band did on the cover of Rolling Stone – they got naked. The nude cover is definitely artistic, with spray painted words covering their skin (and their hands covering their “jewels”), but it’s all about shock value. Shock value sells and even when it doesn’t appeal, we talk about so it sort of does appeal.
Will the “hot” cover of these four Aussie studs in the buff itself amplify their appeal? Eh, it’s debatable, but probably not. It’s hard to sway a first impression, and generally, even if 5SOS throw in a baby curse word or two and some innuendo, they’ll still be considered a ‘boy band’ or a teen-pop outfit, regardless if they are or aren’t.’
What the cover does do for the skeptic who doubts their inner rock and roll spirit elevate their inner badass. Being skeptical of the band, yet owning both albums and jamming to “She Looks So Perfect” and “She’s Kinda Hot,” in some oxymoronic immature-mature way, 5SOS does pique my interest more. Maybe it’s the fact they had the balls (yes, the pun is intended this time) to put themselves out there, or maybe it’s the fact that these guys always seemed ‘cooler’ than One Direction, but still lacked the oomph of unabashed punks. That ‘respect’ is of course my inner rebel, not the mature adult.
Now to throw out the whole adult, morality thing – you knew it was coming. While it’s understandable why 5SOS want to spread their wings and break out of the repressed shell that is the boy-band, is this too much of a leap for band whose fan base is still young and likely mostly girls? Sure, boy-bands are designed to appeal to teen girls and not just their music, but their entire image. What image does four “hot” nude dudes portray to its teenage girl fan base? SEX…ding* ding* ding*.
That leads to what’s more surprising about the Rolling Stone cover. Call it the confessions of a teen-rock band (won’t keep calling them a boy band because they really aren’t). “When you put four young dudes on a tour bus, playing theaters, then arenas, you’re going to have sex with a lot of girls.” That says it all a lot, but there’s more. Read the article, and the ‘rebelliousness’ comes alive quickly: constant f-bombs and liberal sexual references that can all be summed up as ‘reckless youth.’ The key part of the last statement is YOUTH.
Here’s the thing. Ask many folks, and they can speak upon their rebellious ways, vices, and sins, particularly in their youth. But the question is, how will 5SOS’ base – who will see and read the article even though they shouldn’t – ultimately view these wild and crazy tales? Undoubtedly, the younger base WILL read this issue of Rolling Stone just because of the cover, but what will be the influence of its contents? Sure, teens aren’t the most moral beings, particularly since such morality can be a lifelong process depending upon who you are and what your upbringing is/was, but does exposure to more temptation, intentional or not, send a respectable message?
So, what’s the verdict on the mag cover? Personally, “it is what it is.” Hey, the dudes certainly have the look and what many would call the ‘desirable body’ so if they were up to it, then “so be it.” What about the article itself? Well, 5SOS are obviously much “cooler” than I can ever hope to be. BUT real life isn’t a constant party so getting caught up in fool’s gold of 5SOS’s antics is unreasonable, right?