Monday, August 23, 2021

Luke Hemmings’ ‘When Facing The Things We Turn Away From’ Is An Emotional Statement Of Musical Maturity

Honest and emotive, 5 Seconds of Summer member Luke Hemmings has truly shown his soul to the world in his debut solo album ‘When Facing The Things We Turn Away From’. 

The twelve-track record deals with everything from loneliness to heartbreak and addiction, and is an excellent statement to showcase the Australian singer’s song-writing abilities, also exhibited during his time in 5SOS, notably through the band’s deeper cuts such as ‘Lover Of Mine’ and ‘Ghost Of You’, which Hemmings has writing credits on. 

Being able to write such telling lyrics in a melodically sound while remaining a member of a band is a tell-tale sign that his solo work will be of great standard.

Opening track and lead single ‘Starting Line’ is an emphatic statement for Hemmings to put out into the world as an indicator of his solo musical identity. The type of track you would envision yourself running in a field to, Hemmings’ isolated vocals are accompanied by a piano’s crescendo up to a grand instrumental ending, which is cleverly reflected in the lyrics that gradually building up tension (‘’I feel the walls are closing, I’m running out of time’’). Instrumental build ups are present elsewhere, such as in heart-breaking track ‘Mum’ where Hemmings is calling out for help as he struggles with the pressures of fame, and in ‘A Beautiful Dream’ where the opening emotive orchestral backing transforms into an emphasised instrumental outro with crashing cymbals and glitching synth, featuring voicemails from the singer’s mother.


The motif of family and needing support is carried throughout the record, particularly on ‘Bloodline’ which discusses the issue of addiction running through a family. A short two-minute-long track, it is the only song recorded with one instrument – a solo piano backing – and one vocal, making it a personal and insightful touch to the record, with Hemmings confessing ‘’I live in the numb’’.


Such raw lyricism is the album’s strength; Hemmings knows he has made mistakes in the past and he isn’t afraid to admit this. Previously released ‘Place In Me’ is where you can hear the emotion coming through in the singer’s trembling voice as he sings ‘’Call me in the morning yeah/ I’m sorry that I let you down I’m/ so apathetic it’s pathetic/ But I need you now’’. Similarly, Bon Iver reminiscent track ‘Repeat’ uses isolated vocals to explore the issue of losing your true self and retreating from your problems – declaring, “you run from tomorrow/ but the madness catches up’’.


Hemmings is open about the pressures of fame and the effect that it can have on your mental health, which is a respectable move for someone with his level of influence to talk about. Being famous since the beginning of his teenage years – as 5SOS released their debut album in 2014 and has since toured the world twice alongside One Direction – life in the spotlight is all that the 25-year-old has really known. Referring to his lifestyle as a ‘’madness’’ in ‘Diamonds’ as he pleads for help with lyrics such as ‘’I’m on my way out, losing the dream’’, makes the album extremely personal, moreover since this star has been open with his mental health struggles before. References to a ‘’wonderland’’ on the breezy track ‘Baby Blue’ and to ‘’Camellia Street’’ (where the singer grew up in Australia) in ‘Comedown’ perpetuate the imagery of needing to escape to your roots – or to somewhere new.


Hemmings has done just that in the production, which echoes his stylistic musical roots. The star’s fame grew from him posting videos on YouTube with his acoustic guitar. While 5SOS’ music strayed away from this simplicity and took a rockier approach, ‘When Facing The Things We Turn Away From’ is a return to the acoustic guitar base, particularly in ‘Saigon’, ‘Baby Blue’ and ‘Comedown’, which can be likened to a breezy indie-rock approach. The upbeat tone in select tracks such as ‘Motion’ contrast with the deeper lyrics defining the album, however the mellow and slower tone and tempo of the majority of the album works well to emphasise the importance of the issues which are being discussed. Coming to a close with ‘Comedown’, which discusses the need to accept everything in life, good or bad, in order to be at peace, the final line of the record is ‘’let it come down on me’’ – a calm and apt ending for a heavy yet important album.


With this being his debut solo album, there is no doubt that Luke Hemmings has a talented future ahead of him.


Amrit Virdi

@_amritvirdi @thevinylwriter 

Image: When Facing The Things We Turn Away From Album Artwork


  1. loved the article about Lukes solo album as when facing the things we turn away from is one of my favourite albums the only thing is that the lyric in comedown about Camelia street is not where Luke is from, Luke's wife Sierra met him while she was living there (he said this in a performance of comedown) good review tho :)

  2. Luke is Australian :)


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