I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

What does "She's Kinda Hot" by 5 Seconds of Summer mean?

5 Seconds of Summer began on YouTube and was the opening band for One Direction in a 2013 tour, but now the music has taken on a life of its own (including a 7.4M Twitter following). The band consists of Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood , and Ashton Irwin, all of whom are 21 years-old or younger. The band bases its music on a whining, punk, almost-90's feel that helps them promote a "we're young and we don't care" message that fans seem to love. According to Daily Mail, "She's Kinda Hot" was the most shared song on Twitter on Tuesday.

The song begins with a guitar riff that the band describes as "desert cowboy" in an interview with Rolling Stone. Michael Clifford says, "We just all came around that riff. That first verse is literally the first thing that came to our head, which was just real stupid stuff." MTV continues the description of the song's music: "The track . . . starts with vinyl crackle and an acoustic elementary guitar riff, but soon it picks up intensity, adding electric guitar and tons of cymbals for a fuller sound. It’s filled with little ad-libs and sound effects — elephant shrieks, evil clown laughs, cash register dings, record scratches. Surprisingly enough, the song ends with banjo."

5 Seconds of Summer 

5 Seconds of Summer 

"She's Kinda Hot" Lyrics Meaning

The first verse of "She's Kinda Hot" begins listing problems by saying, "My girlfriend’s bitchin’ cause I always sleep in / She’s always screamin’ when she’s calling her friend." Thus, the relationship isn't ideal. The girlfriend is an intense personality who doesn't mesh well with her boyfriend's laid back attitude.

But, he reasons, "She’s kinda hot though / Yeah, she’s kinda hot though / (Just an itty bitty little bit hot)." His girlfriend is not irresistibly attractive to him, but he's been taught not to expect too much of life, and her level of "hotness" satisfies what he wants.

He continues, "My shrink is telling me I got crazy dreams / She’s also saying I got low self esteem." The news his shrink delivers is negative and focuses on the fact that what he wants to do is far more than he, someone who barely believes in himself, can ever accomplish. He may as well not try. He consoles himself with the fact that meeting with her is not a waste because "[s]he’s kinda hot though" even if only "a little bit, a little bit hot" and even if "[s]he put me on meds." Despite these, "she won’t get out of my head."

5 Seconds of Summer 

5 Seconds of Summer 

In the second verse, the narrator turns the focus from attractiveness to accomplishment: "My friend left college cause it felt like a job." His friend had been told college would be fun, but left because it was too difficult and too much like a "9-5," resulting in his parents thinking "he’s a slob." The narrator encourages him at first--"He’s got a shot though"--but immediately takes it back--"No, not really."

What is ailing the singer and his friend? It seems they've "got bigger plans that no one else understands." Despite their sleeping in and quitting college, their problem doesn't seem to be laziness; it's actually that no one understands them--the underlying theme of the song. 5 Seconds of Summer claims that when you have plans like this, "You’ve got a shot though," a point immediately brought into doubt by the following "Oh my, that’s a big plan you’ve got there."

5 Seconds of Summer 

5 Seconds of Summer 

In the chorus, 5 Seconds of Summer sings, "They say we’re losers, and we’re all right with that." The band gains its identity from the fact that it's full of people who others see as losers. In addition, the band is certainly non-traditional, at least in the fact that it implicitly mocks tradition and what it takes to succeed.

This being as it is, they claim to be "the leaders of the not coming back’s." They beckon to listeners who identify with them and claim that they're all right with their status as not only the "biggest" losers but also as the leaders of the losers.

In fact, they claim ownership of this arena when they sing, "We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene." Rolling Stone explains this is 5 Seconds of Summer "hoping to offer a little inspiration and solace to their fervent fanbase." In the same article, band member Michael Clifford says, "I think the song's got a really cool message. It's like, 'Yeah we're screwed up kids, but we're going to be okay.'"

The third verse continues this idea as the band sings, "Sometimes I’m feeling like I’m going insane / My neighbor told me that I got bad brains." Not only do others doubt the narrator's abilities, but he himself isn't quite sure that he has what it takes. Of course, he's "all right though," and he continues to build identity from his possession of an identity that others do not like.

5 Seconds of Summer 

5 Seconds of Summer 

"She's Kinda Hot" is 5 Seconds of Summer's grunge-inspired pop anthem ode to being different and liking being different. The band wants to celebrate its own "loser" status in an effort to gather everyone else who wants to share the same label. Thanks to catchy riffs and 90's-inspired vocals, the band is not a "loser" in this goal.

What did you think of "She's Kinda Hot" by 5 Seconds of Summer? Did you like the song? Did you find it ironic that a wildly successful band celebrates being "losers"? How does this impact the integrity of the song? Thanks for reading!

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