Music

Do I Give [Insert Problematic Band Here] A Second Chance?

Last week 5 Seconds of Summer released “Want You Back,” the Australian band’s first single since 2015.

I didn’t care. Until I saw my friends tweeting positive reviews of the song. Friends I trust wholeheartedly.

Let me take you back to my senior year of high school. 2014. I’ve been following 5 Seconds of Summer for about a year. “She Looks So Perfect” has just been released as a single and I’m on cloud nine. 5SOS can do no wrong. Their self-titled album is then released that summer and I’m pretty much in love with this band and they are comforting me as I prepare for my first year of college.

Fast forward to the summer of 2015, my first year of college has just concluded and I’m blessed with new 5SOS once again. “She’s Kinda Hot” is catchy and “Jet Black Heart” speaks to my soul. Their sophomore album is released that October and I dig it.

I only got to enjoy that album for about 2 months because the day after Christmas 2015, everything began to fall apart.

The infamous Rolling Stone interview is published online and there’s one part that doesn’t sit well with me and most fans:

“‘Seventy-five percent of our lives is proving we’re a real band,’ says Irwin. ‘We’re getting good at it now. We don’t want to just be, like, for girls. We want to be for everyone. That’s the great mission that we have. I’m already seeing a few male fans start to pop up, and that’s cool. If the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and all those guys can do it, we can do it, too.'”

It was like Ashton has personally come into my home and repeatedly stabbed me in the heart.

If there’s one thing that hurts the most being a female fan of a band (that is typically all male), it’s when they say they “don’t want to just be, like, for girls.” As if something that is predominantly liked by girls shouldn’t be taken seriously, or isn’t up to par with something predominantly liked by men.

5SOS isn’t the only band to ever say that, of course. But they were the first band that I was completely in love with that said that. It hurt.

The rest of the article was a mess and was very… “Hey, I’m in a band and I’m too cool for school and I can have sex with however many girls I want.” For real, there’s an entire part about their sex lives. I invite you to read it.

The following few months I stopped listening to their music. I stopped interacting with them on Twitter. Eventually, very early into 2016, I stumbled upon a video of them ignoring fans (which I totally get in certain circumstances) which led to multiple stories of them allegedly being rude to fans, and screenshots of Instagram comments and tweets from one of their girlfriends being crazy rude to fans. While I knew some of the stories could be totally false, the video and the tweets still made me uncomfortable enough to call it quits.

I remember being very upset that night, texting my friend that I felt like I was going through a breakup. It was verrry dramatic, but it did hurt. Prior to Rolling Stone, I had trusted 5SOS to be a good band. I felt like that trust had been broken once that article was published, but it reached a new height that night in 2016.

I unfollowed them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat. Deleted their music from my computer and Spotify. A few months later I checked my email and realized I was still subscribed to their mailing list. I unsubbed from that.

So for the past 2 years I’ve been 5SOS free. This means, I genuinely have no idea where they are in their lives now. If they’ve changed. Whether they have renounced what they said in that article and if they meant it.

In my mind, 5SOS is still that problematic band from 2015, which I fully recognize is a problematic way to think/see things.

I know for a fact that I am not the same person I was in 2015 and I would hate for someone to think of me as the 2015 version of myself, in 2018. I have experienced more of the world, have gone through some shit, and am months away from completing my college education. I’m a totally different person.

So… What about 5 Seconds of Summer? Are they the same people they were in 2015? I highly doubt it. But have they changed for the better, or worse? I wouldn’t know, because I cut them off. I don’t know who they are anymore.

I don’t know if I should listen to this new single and support them. Things like this do matter to me. I want the bands I support to have the same values I do – in the case of 5SOS, respect for female fans and women in general.

Then that leads me to this: What if I do give them a second chance? Do I then give a band like Neck Deep a second chance?

About a year ago the singer of Neck Deep tweeted dumb stuff on International Women’s Day, which didn’t sit well with me at the time.

The tweets were dumb, but I can’t find any similar instances or tweets of him saying something like that since, and it’s important to note he did apologize. Whether he meant it, we can’t know, but he recognized that it was dumb. That’s good.

In 2015 the band parted ways with a member for misconduct with underage girls. From what I can find online (which isn’t a lot considering this happened 3 years ago), the band member ended up being cleared by police. I’ve tried to find the original source of the allegations online, but I can’t. I’ve read from multiple sources that the screenshots the source included in her allegations were fake and she admitted they were fake. I obviously can’t say whether this is true or not as I can’t find the proof. Like I said, I can’t even find the origin of the allegations.

For as long as I can remember, it has been drilled into my brain to believe the victim first. And I always have. Hence, no Neck Deep in my life. But from what I’ve read, it seems like no one in Neck Deep was involved in any form of misconduct and the allegations are false.

If the allegations against that Neck Deep member turned out to be true, I wouldn’t support them. It would be hard not to believe the other band members didn’t know what was happening. Bands like With Confidence? Pierce the Veil? Brand New? I’m pretty positive I’ll never support them.

But what do I do now? I’ve sworn off these bands for things that have happened in their past, and now they might be good people?

At what point do you give a band a second chance?

I don’t want to be blinded by the music. If a band isn’t made up of good people, I don’t want to support them.

But how do you know the people you are supporting are good people? I guess you don’t know, and you usually won’t know, until it’s too late.

So, what do you do when a musician says something really dumb that doesn’t at all align with what you believe? You cut them off. But what about one or two or a few years down the road? Do they deserve another chance?

I’ve said horrendous things in the past. I used to not think about things in complex ways. Then I was educated either in school or by a friend or by the internet. I was given a second chance, so should I extend that to 5SOS and Neck Deep?

I genuinely don’t know what to do here and I’m very willing to hear what people have to say and what they think. Especially if it is in specific regards to these two bands. Let me know how 5SOS has been these past few years. Tell me how you feel about Neck Deep.

Tweet me: @SelinaFalcon.

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