Overexposed – Maroon 5

Overexposed

Maroon 5

2012

A&M/Octone

To start this new album review off, I’d like to say, honestly, I really enjoy Songs About Jane, Maroon 5’s first album.  It was a record that combined a bit of everything, bringing in all their influences to create a sound that fit lead singer Adam Levine’s original voice.  Apparent on Songs About Jane was a bit of rock, jazz, funk, and enough pop for the album to become a huge success.  I would never say that it’s a great album, but it’s certainly an enjoyable one.

Looking into Maroon 5’s past and influences is important, especially because their new album, Overexposed, refuses to do so itself.  The band has continued to seek mainstream success, leaving behind all the intimate moments that made their first album a breakthrough hit.  It’s over-produced, lousy with clichés, and overall unbelievably boring.

With this release, Maroon 5 has made it abundantly clear that they’re chasing after a fan base of fifteen-year old girls and soccer moms.  With electro-pop songs such as “Tickets,” where Levine sings the pseudo-risqué “Stop messing with my mind ’cause you’ll never have my heart / But your perfect little body makes me fall apart” and an appearance by safe-rapper Wiz Khalifa on “Payphone,” Overexposed is just rebellious enough to be adored by those jailbait teens, practicing stripper dance moves in front of their full-length bedroom mirrors.  However, mini-van driving mothers will also love the album, with its anthemic choruses (see “Daylight”) and worn-out rhymes (“Fortune Teller” has the lines “But I think we should stay / Stuck in the moment today”).  Both mother and daughter will feel deviant listening to the album, but let’s face it, when your singer is on NBC’s The Voice, your album is pretty unthreatening.

Ladies, it looks like a leather jacket, but you know it feels exactly like a button-up sweater.

Speaking of Wiz Khalifa and the single “Payphone,” Maroon 5 seems to be foregoing their influences even more with the guest appearances on their songs.  Other than Khalifa, other previous songs have featured Lady Antebellum (“Out of Goodbyes”), Christina Aguilera (“Moves Like Jagger”), Rihanna (“If I Never See Your Face Again”), and Mary J. Blige (the remix of “Wake Up Call”).  These seem like odd choices for a band whose influences supposedly include Prince, The Police, Stevie Wonder, and the Talking Heads.  Khalifa, whose popularity has peaked within the past two years, is a simple marketing tool for Overexposed.

It’s a shame that this new record relies heavily on production value and effects.  Songs About Jane had proven Maroon 5 could write catchy tracks with musical talent and authentic vocals and still be slick with their engineering.  Yet, the focus has shifted away from the former, as Maroon 5 has grown dependent on overproduction, a metaphorical heroin baby of the Top 40 music industry.  Levine’s otherwise trusty falsettos suffer because of auto-tune effects placed on his voice, in such songs like “Ladykiller” and “Love Somebody.”  Album opener “One More Night” places emphasis on techno-like drums, annoyingly detracting from what could’ve been a good reggae-inspired track.  The only song that isn’t affected in a negative way by these effects is the simplistic ballad “Sad” — and that song languishes underneath the tedious lyrics.

So, the Maroon 5 dirge moves on, another album sealing the fate of what I once regarded as a band with so much potential.  This is the point during the review where I could make numerous puns on the album title, regarding the band’s surging popularity.  But, I just don’t feel like it; it would be too easy.  And I’ll leave the lazy writing up to fellow reviewer Nicholas, or the lyrics of Maroon 5.  BAM YO, I BETCHA THAT ONE STUNG, DIDN’T IT?

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3 Responses to “Overexposed – Maroon 5”

  1. Nicholas Says:

    Mother. Fucker. You can pretend all you want but its obvious how much you loved this album.

  2. […] 2. “She Will Be Loved” — Maroon 5: Or really, just anything by Maroon 5. […]

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