Photo courtesy of Luke Hemmings and Sony Music Entertainment Australia.
5 Seconds of Summer or 5SOS lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Luke Hemmings released his debut solo album, When Facing the Things We Turn Away From, on August 13, 2021. The album was announced on June 30, 2021 along with its lead single, Starting Line. The album was co-written and produced by Sammy Witte. Critics have given the album positive reviews.
Track 1: Starting Line
Starting Line is the first track on the album and the singer’s first solo single. The first thing I thought of when I first listen to this song is that it belongs in a coming-of-age film. Hemmings had this to say about the song in a statement to Billboard, “You’re reflecting on your youth and all of the madness and craziness. It’s like you’re forgetting so many pieces of your life—not from vices or anything—but from the sheer volume. I had to figure out how to fill a lot of gaps for myself in a positive way. It’s the human condition to change everything up after so long.”
I instantly fell in love with the melody and meaningful lyrics. One of my top favorites from the album for sure. The song is a perfect opener for the album with its cinematic and indie rock tones.
Number of Spotify streams: 9.5 million+
Track 2: Saigon
Saigon is the second track on the album. The title of the album is a line in the song. Hemmings says that the song is about savoring moments because some moments are precious and can’t be replaced. He says it’s about a trip that he and his fiancée, Sierra Deaton, took to Vietnam with their moms.
Number of Spotify streams: 1.1 million+
Track 3: Motion
Motion is the third track on the album. This song brings Hemmings’ artistic vision to life which is well-executed in the music video. From what the 24-year-old singer describes, it almost songs as if Motion was an accident by just messing with some interesting vocals.
Number of Spotify streams: 2.6 million+
Track 4: Place In Me
Place In Me is the fourth track on the album. Like Motion, Place In Me executes Hemmings’ artistic vision quite accurately.
Number of Spotify streams: 2.5 million+
Track 5: Baby Blue
Baby Blue is the fifth track on the album and one of my personal favorites. Whenever I listen to this song, I feel electrified and full of pure happiness. The infectious melody is so fun and the lyrics make you feel like you’re in Wonderland. The song was co-written with Sierra Deaton, the artist’s fiancée.
Number of Spotify streams: 2.6 million+
Track 6: Repeat
Repeat is the sixth track on the album. Its delicate melody matched with its beautiful lyrics makes for an experience pleasing to the ears. The singer’s soft vocals makes the song ethereal.
Number of Spotify streams: 823,000+
Track 7: Mum
Mum is the seventh track on the album. Mum mixes the sounds of rock and pop. Hemmings said to Atwood Magazine that “the chords are very Radiohead…” I can definitely hear the rock influence, especially during the bridge.
Number of Spotify streams: 1.3 million+
Track 8: Slip Away
Slip Away is the eighth track on the album. Slip Away‘s melody reminds me of Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s 2012 hit, Stay. It’s soft but packs a powerful punch with its lyrics.
Number of Spotify streams: 967,000+
Track 9: Diamonds
Diamonds is the ninth track on the album and one of my personal favorites. Like Starting Line, this song belongs in a coming-of-age film because of it cinematic tones and vocal whispers.
Number of Spotify streams: 794,000+
Track 10: A Beautiful Dream
A Beautiful Dream is the tenth track on the album. This song is the definition of coming-of-age to me. Hemmings claimed this as possibly his favorite song from the entire album and I don’t blame him. The cinematic opening sends chills down my spine every time. It’s like an orchestra of beautiful sounds just blessing my eardrums with the singer’s echoey vocals.
Number of Spotify streams: 722,000+
Track 11: Bloodline
Bloodline is the eleventh track on the album. The singer’s soft vocals on this song are dreamy and soothing. While the song is the shortest of all the songs on this album, it still packs a punch.
Number of Spotify streams: 769,000+
Track 12: Comedown
Comedown is the twelfth and final track on the album. The delicate melody emulates an emotional but bittersweet closing to one of the best albums that my ears have ever listened to. The soft guitar is calming. The songs makes you feel as if you’re floating on clouds.
Number of Spotify streams: 708,000+
When Facing the Things We Turn Away From: A Review on the Album
Similar to Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album, SOUR, it’s extremely rare for me to fall in love with an entire album. I think this is one of my favorite albums of all time. The songs are poetic and lyrically stunning. Luke Hemmings tells a beautiful story of what it’s like to be young and the emotions young people feel quite often. I have narrowed down my top 5 songs: Starting Line, Baby Blue, Motion, A Beautiful Dream, and Diamonds. I hope we get to see more of Hemmings’ music and his solo abilities as an artist in the near future.