There are moments in music fandom where the artist of your affection does something so perfectly "you,” it almost feels as though they were doing it for “you,” the very specific “you.” It’s a stage of obsession that plagues us around the time our walls begin to be cluttered with the images of our favorite acts...total art-love that feels all consuming.
Hot Topic serves a very real importance in malls. In a way, it mirrors 5 Seconds of Summer's very real importance in the greater pop music climate: It's a safe haven for outcasts, those kids who chose expression and angst over contentment and ignorance. For decades the mall punk institution has acted like a place for those who feel alone to feel less so. 5SOS do the same with their music: It's uncommon for a rock band to do as well as they have, and in such a short amount of time...but their popularity comes from a place of connection.
When the band announced 5SOS Crash Hollywood, a meet and greet and live performance at the Hollywood Hot Topic, a place that sits kitty-korner to the iconic Dolby Theatre, it was evident we would be in for a treat. At this point, the guys were doing it for "you," for us. They elected to play at the ultimate teen spot to celebrate their transition into maturity. It was for the kids, by young adults.
The band ripped through new singles "Hey Everybody!" and "She's Kinda Hot." They paused for the emotive "Amnesia" and took time with "Jet Black Heart," the Michael Clifford-heavy tune that is quite obviously a fan favorite. It recalls "Wrapped Around You Finger" from the band's earliest days, but with real depth: Now any unhappiness in their songs comes from real pain, real introspection...it's no longer just about girls and unrequited crushes.
The set ended with "She Looks So Perfect," defacto frontman Luke Hemmings intro'ing it with, "If you don't know who we are, this is a song you should know...hopefully." It's the kind of self-deprecating charm that makes them so likable (along with, you know, everything else about the group) that seemed like a perfect conclusion. They are one of the biggest bands in the world, they are going to have another No. 1 record come tomorrow and they're still humble as hell.
A few blocks away at the iconic Hollywood and Vine intersection sits Capitol Records, home to 5SOS. At the top of the legendary building was a bright green sign with harmless, graffiti-like font. It featured the cover of Sounds Good Feels Good and stood taller than the building's illuminated sign. At night, a good 24-hours later, it still stood strong, greeting passersby on the nearby freeway. It feels strangely important: A group that was just making jokes at their own expense outside the ultimate teen store is also commanding a certain authority over a huge music and media conglomerate. It's a reminder that at the end of the day, just being you and pursuing what you love is enough. In fact, it's everything.