“Is it easier to stay? Is it easier to go?” asks 5 Seconds of Summer frontman Luke Hemmings in the band’s newest single, “Easier.” The song and its accompanying music video dropped this morning and it’s quite a mood: Hemmings, wearing a leather ensemble and glitter eyeshadow, sings chained by the wrists to the roof of a blue-lit cave while guitarist Michael Clifford, bassist Calum Hood and drummer Ashton Irwin rock out in front of the candle-studded backdrop.
The lyric “I love you so much that I hate you” sums up the song’s message as the production-heavy pop-rock bop deals with the familiar, toxic trope of a love-hate relationship between lovers. In addition to the cave setting, the video also features a striking seductress and haunting scenes of the bandmates submerged in on orange-lit pool and individually strolling down a long hallway in which their headshots are set ablaze. Notably, the portraits were taken on a white backdrop that resembles the album cover artwork on their 2014 self-titled debut album, which begs the question of whether or not it’s declaring a symbolic departure from their old musical style.
In celebration of their first single since their Chainsmokers collaboration “Who Do You Love” in February, the self-described “smooth-sailing” Aussie rock group debuted their track on the radio On Air With Ryan Seacrest this morning just after the video’s release and discussed the band’s new sound.
In the exclusive interview, the band reflects on their growth in the past seven years and how their next project will differ sonically from their previous 2018 album Young Blood. Hood, in part, credits The Chainsmokers with the influence to take their music a different direction, saying that working with them was a “total jeux du position.”
In their third album, the band discovered their knack for incorporated industrial, electronic elements to their rock essence and worked with artists like OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and solo pop singer Charlie Puth–both famed songwriters– to achieve this vibe on “Easier”. “Especially on this fourth album, we all had to agree to continue pursuing something that’s fantastic and new for this band,” says Irwin. “That’s why the sound has changed.”
Seacrest also informed the band that they will be opening iHeartRadio’s Wango Tango in June, to which they responded “are we?!” with surprised looks. Giving showgoers should expect, 5SOS hinted that they may start their set strong with “Easier”.
The rest of the interview was spent bantering about the band’s attempt at matching tattoos, poking fun at Hemmings’ bulldog for resembling a baked potato and reassuring Calum of the importance of the third wheel as the only single 5SOS member.
In the hours since the video’s release, fans have noticed a potential easter egg for the band’s eventual fourth studio album: four hieroglyphic-style symbols with mysterious meaning. They make their appearance tattooed down the spine of the video’s female character and on its closing shot of a burning banner.
So far, Irwin is the only one that’s divulged his symbol’s spiritual meaning on Twitter, leaving us to wonder where the other three originated. Fans speculate that Michael’s symbol, two horizontal lines over three dots, resemble his final fantasy finger tattoo, but hopefully, the band will reveal all this and more in the coming months leading up to the untitled fourth album-in-the-works.