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Review: ‘When Facing the Things We Turn Away From’ by Luke Hemmings

Luke Hemmings, lead vocalist of Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, recently released his solo project titled When Facing the Things We Turn Away From.

5SOS started their career in 2011 by posting covers on YouTube. The band is still together, but Luke Hemmings and Ashton Irwin, the band’s drummer, have both released solo albums.

With these solo albums, it’s interesting to hear the different songwriting and production styles of each member. This allows fans to view 5SOS’ music as a puzzle. They create amazing music on their own, but when each piece comes together, something incredible happens.

In his Instagram post announcing the album, Hemmings wrote, “Lyrically and sonically, this album has allowed me to decipher the last 10 years of my life and help me make sense of the person I am today and how I got here.”

An authentic telling of Luke’s psyche was highly anticipated after this post, and he delivered. When Facing the Things We Turn Away From is everything I expect from an August release. It transitions between summer and autumn beautifully; the album is upbeat, but at times, it is heart-wrenching.

“Starting Line,” the album’s lead single, is the middle ground. Lyrically, it dove straight into thoughts that are often troublesome: the feeling that life is passing you by. This is a common theme throughout the album. However, with “Starting Line,” there was a part of me that felt invigorated. Like running through traffic like Hemmings does in the music video.

Watch the music video for “Starting Line” here:

I would not do the album justice if I failed to acknowledge the track “Mum.” It is exactly what it sounds like: a letter to his mother.

Anyone who has been a fan of Luke knows how fond he is of his mother Liz. She has been photographing the band’s shows since the beginning of their career and shares her love and support on social media.

Photo of Luke by Liz, his mother

In his songwriting, Hemmings has opened up about the effect the music industry has had on him. With “Mum,” he has allowed listeners to gain insight into how it affects his relationship with his mom, making it the most powerful song on the album.

Liz makes another appearance in the track “A Beautiful Dream.” The music is laced with a voicemail from her.

When asked about the song, Hemmings said, “This song comes from the word ‘zenosyne’, which is the feeling that as you get older, time moves quicker.” He then added, “I find it difficult to remember anything in general, so I suppose it’s about not wanting my most precious memories to fade away.”

What “A Beautiful Dream” lacks in lyrics is made up for in meaning and production. It is definitely one of my favorites.

The tracks “Place In Me” and “Baby Blue” were accompanied by visualizers available on YouTube. Visualizers are like music videos, but much simpler.

The “Place In Me” visualizer shows Luke laying on the ground holding light. As the camera zooms out, the scenery becomes a galaxy and the light being held becomes a star, then two stars appear.

This visual is not complex but translates the meaning. At the end of the song Hemmings repeats, “You’ll always have a place in me.” One can assume the stars represent two people.

Watch the official visualizer for “Place In Me” here:

“Baby Blue” is somewhere in between a visualizer and a music video. I couldn’t extract a deeper meaning from the visual, but it still enhances the listening experience.

Watch the official visualizer for “Baby Blue” here:

The best thing Hemmings included when creating the album was a track to act as an outro. “Comedown” represents everything he’s been through during his career.

He said, “’Let it come down on me’ means allowing yourself to feel it all, the good and the bad and everything in between.”

In an album that features past feelings, the best conclusion is a message from the present.

Although I was biased when I began listening to this album, I am certain that it would’ve been just as good if I had never heard of 5 Seconds of Summer. There’s nothing to not like about it. It’s emotional and raw, but still includes the familiarity of fun tracks.

Stream When Facing the Things We Turn Away From and connect with Luke Hemmings on social media!

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