Review: Maroon 5 – Overexposed

Posted: July 1, 2012 in Reviews

Los Angelian pop-rock band, Maroon 5, known for smash tunes such as “She Will Be Loved,” “This Love,” “Wake Up Call,” and “Moves Like Jagger,” have always longed to dominate the pop charts, rather than the rock world.  Unfortunately Maroon 5 are an alternative rock band by nature and though many rock fans consider Maroon 5 somewhat too poppy for their tastes, until recently, they were not seen as poppy enough to chart the Top 200 list. Lead singer Adam Levine, (who is often featured on songs that do chart: “Bang Bang” by K’naan, “Heard Em Say” by Kanye West, and “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes) has tried (and in many cases succeeded) in stealing the music world’s spotlight namely by dating (and breaking up with) Russian supermodel Anne Vyalitsyna as well as becoming a coach on NBC’s popular television program “The Voice.”

In 2011, Maroon 5 collaborated with Christina Aguilera, Levine’s co-worker on “The Voice,” and released “Moves Like Jagger,” one of their most successful singles to date.  According to the band, “Jagger” is the song the band hoped they could write since their inception and it’s poppy infectiousness inspired the writing process on the next record, 2012’s Overexposed, which just emerged into the music world last Tuesday, June 26.  According to guitarist James Valentine, “Moves Like Jagger’ was the first time we ever worked with an outside writer, so we decided to try it some more on this record…This is our most ‘pop’ record ever and we weren’t shy about really going for it.”  Shameless spotlight hogging.  But, hey.  It’s good business.  There’s no denying that, especially since Overexposed has been the #1 album on iTunes since it’s release.

Overexposed is not a pop-rock record like its predecessors.  Maroon 5 have completely bridged the gap between their music and pure 2000s pop music the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Usher, but since that’s what they were going for, there isn’t an issue.  The band decided they wanted to crank out a record with only single-worthy chart-topping tunes and with that in mind, one can confidentially say that Maroon 5 absolutely nailed it.  Every song has an extremely catchy melody and hook and could absolutely, but does a series of fourteen mindless pop songs (that, granted, get mercilessly stuck in your head) make for a quality record?  Many of Overexposed’s songs, including “Lucky Strike,” “Payphone,” “One More Night,” apply the use of the disco drum beat and loud keyboards and distorted pop guitars on the chorus that give the hook a little extra “umph,” though that repetitive sound gives some of the tracks a formulaic feel.

Highlights on the album include the opener,  “One More Night,” which builds upon a slow, steady reggae rhythm, “Lucky Strike,” a dance-pop that works off of a “four chord progression” made famous by the comedy band The Axis of Awesome, “Sad,” a pretty piano song on which Levine displays his happy talent for vocal diversity, changing octaves between verses, and the closer, “Beautiful Goodbye” which is a mix of the softer, more sensitive side upon which Maroon 5 has based much of its popularity and the dance-pop that dominates Overexposed.  The one true disgrace on the album that shows that Maroon 5 have beyond sold out is rapper Wiz Khalifa’s verse on the lead single, “Payphone.”  Wiz’s verse fails to fit into the otherwise formidable pop hit both lyrically and musically.  Thematically, “Payphone,” like a lot of Maroon 5 songs, is a sad tune about heartbreak.  Khalifa, however, does not rap about losing someone and how that feels, but rather how that lost person no longer has any chance at winning back someone so fantastic as himself.  In fact, the radio version, in which a vocal bridge by Adam Levin replaces Khalifa’s verse, is significantly better than the original.

It is very clear that the band was heavily influenced by “Moves Like Jagger’s” production process. Every single song on the album is terrifically catchy and single-worthy and almost equally fun.  Perhaps Overexposed won’t go down in the history books as a fantastic and memorable release.  If you are searching for an album filled with experimental and complex instrumentation, deep lyrical content and true musical depth, Overexposed is not for you, but if you find yourself in a light mood for some fun and catchy pop songs that will get you singing their hooks for hours at a time, then definitely listen to every track on this record.

  1. david kaminsky says:

    After hearing this I was incredibly disappointed with the route Maroon 5 has decided to take. Mindlessly poppy. True I like a good poppy summer song, but somebody already released “Call me Maybe” so now the airwaves are overwhelmed with this mess. I wish them well. But I won’t be listening.

    • eak1994 says:

      Exactly. It isn’t deep music. It’s just pure pop. That’s what the band wanted, so with that in mind, the album is solid. Do I actually value the songs and consider them quality? No. They are fun to listen to and then they dissapear from memory. Like I said, this won’t be going down in the history books.

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