Sometime Last Night
Disney's at it again—minting the next generation of multi-platform teen idols. And one of them is Ross Lynch, one-fifth of the pop-rock outfit R5.
"Ross Lynch?" you ask quizzically. "R5?"
Even if those names are new to you, they're likely not to anyone born after 2001. That's because Ross Lynch is gunning for the title of Next Big Disney Thing after starring in the series Austin & Ally, as well as handling leading man duties in the Mouse House's wildly popular throwback flicks Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach 2.
Disney, of course, never wastes an opportunity. And so it's hardly a surprise that Ross' three siblings, Riker, Rocky and Rydel (plus friend Ellington Ratliff), have now formed a band alliteratively (of course) referencing their five R-tinged names.
It's a formula Disney's relied upon since the days of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello and all those original beach movies. But if Disney's patented template for manufacturing stars hasn't changed much over the ensuing decades, the messages these young, influential members of the Lynch clan are glorifying surely have … and not for the better.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
We hear a handful of sweet, romantic sentiments that don't descend into suggestive territory. "Smile" confesses, "I dream on, dream about you/What can I do to make you feel alright?/ … I wanna see you smile." And on "Do It Again," we hear, "If I could give you the world tonight/Then I would, I'd still give you all my time/And I'd be rich, 'cause love is everything."
A reference to alcohol on "Wild Hearts" seems to critique addiction to it ("Yeah, one by one they fall/Taken out by alcohol/Poor souls"). Near the end of "Repeating Days," a guy clinging to a cheating girlfriend summons the courage to let her go for good.
And then there are all the songs that do descend into suggestiveness. Album opener "All Night" is rife with lyrics alluding to a hookup. Ross asks a girl who "gets me so high," "Can we live for the moment/Can you live for tonight?" And as the night wears on, that "living" gets pretty steamy. We hear, "And now it's midnight/And I can feel your electricity/Give me that skin tight/Good girls ain't never makin' history." As for what constitutes good or bad, Ross doesn't much seem to care, singing, "Take on the wrongs and rights/ Forget them all and just say, say, say/ … We'll be all right."
"We better live our lives up to the fullest" sounds like it could be a positive sentiment, but in the context of "Wild Hearts" it serves a more primal, animalistic purpose ("Wild hearts run, we're all animals inside"). And for R5, that wildness involves deliberately breaking rules ("Draw a line and we'll cross for fun"). Later, God gets linked to indulging excess with, "Mmm, money, power, want a taste/Pray to God it don't go to waste."
"Dark Side" tries to convince a young woman to cheat ("You say your man don't take the time/Don't see no fancy ring, ahh yeah") and let go of other inhibitions she might have ("Give in to your dark side, your dark side/ … Oh, I know you've got a dark side/Oh, won't you give it to me?"). Elsewhere, the song alludes to drunken kissing ("My lips are numb, can't walk the line/ … I like the red, hope you don't mind/And it tastes so good on you"). Even though the couple just met ("Falling in love on the first date/I don't even know your last name"), this practiced playa seductively says, "Just close your eyes, let the night take you whole." The next song, "Let's Not Be Alone Tonight," repeats that titular sentiment, pairing it with the rationalization, "Not wrong if you come on strong, 'cuz life is too short."
The good feelings Ross pines for on "F.E.E.L. G.O.O.D." are largely sexual ones ("Stay for the night/I wanna show you what the real you is like/ … Give me the night/I wanna know what lucky secrets you hide/Lay by my side"). "Did You Have Your Fun" narrates a couple's torrid tryst in the street after leaving a dance club ("Underneath the street lights/There was smoke in the air/She said she's never like this while she's pulling my hair/Said put your hands where I won't see/Baby, I won't say a thing/Stop leaving stains on cigarettes and come put your lips on me/She's so bad she's good for me/The girl knows ways you won't believe").
"Repeating Days" mostly focuses on a guy who catches his girlfriend cheating ("Climb the stairs to your apartment/Just to see you holding him") but rationalizes staying with her far too long ("So I keep coming back again/ … But even when we fight, I can't stop from loving you"). A short, hidden, segment of the song after the main track says, "All I got is cheap wine/Do you mind? All I got is love for you."
"Smile" harbors this romantic fantasy: "Today I feel like running naked through your street/To get your attention." If that doesn't get the job done, this guy's willing to bankrupt himself to impress the woman in question ("Today I feel like blowing all my cash on you/ … Until I'm broke").
On "Smile," Ross Lynch croons, "Let me take your picture, baby/I'll save it for a rainy day/I don't need much/I guess I'm just old fashioned in that way."
No. He is not.
Old fashioned would involve restraint and respect for the women this tuneful tempter courts, two qualities that are almost wholly absent from R5's appropriately titled Sometime Last Night. Instead, adolescent lust (Ross is 19) runs unchecked on this second effort from the Littleton, Colo., band, imagining a consequence-free reality where all the bad stuff we do tonight feels good for now and won't matter tomorrow.