Release Date: Dec 9, 2008
Record label: Octone
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
How many fans of Maroon 5’s polished funk-pop are also into Deerhoof’s extraterrestrial indie rock, DJ Premier’s boom-bap rap, or Tiësto’s monolithic Euro-trance, much less all three? The L.A. quintet makes it work on Call and Response: The Remix Album, letting those unusual suspects — along with hitmakers like Mark Ronson and Pharrell Williams — play with their master tapes. The resulting hit-to-miss ratio is surprisingly high: Few bands make music that’s elastic enough to be stretched into so many improbable shapes without losing any snap.
Give Maroon 5 considerable credit for letting themselves be heavily remixed on Call and Response: The Remix Album, letting hipsters from Mark Ronson to Of Montreal cut and paste, turn and twist the original tracks into something that says more about the remixers than the band itself. Now, whether the end result winds up entertaining either camp -- either fans of the band or the remixers -- is another question entirely, but at least Call and Response is interesting, letting ?uestlove, Pharrell Williams, and Bloodshy & Avant rub shoulders with power poppers Phantom Planet and experimental rockers Deerhoof. This wide net says more about Maroon 5's fashion than it does their music -- they're sharp and smart enough to know what will get them club play and blog mentions -- but it's nice to have a band so big try to tie together these two niches, even if neither the R&B nor the indie rock winds up relating to the happy mainstream hooks of the group's hits.
Maroon 5 are a huge “rock” band but aren’t popular where it counts for non-post-grunge rock bands: the blognoscenti, who can make Fleet Foxes into the second coming of Jesus Christ himself. That disconnect between the “hip” cache Maroon 5 are obviously reaching for (check the Rapture-ripping cover) and their fame among the post-Hannah Montana set explains the existence of Call And Response: The Remix Album, which features remixes of Maroon 5 songs by the likes of cool hip-hop stars like Cool Kids and ?uestlove and indie-rock heroes like Cut Copy, Of Montreal and Deerhoof. At first (and second and third) blush, Call And Response appears as an obvious cash-grab on the part of Maroon 5’s label in order to make some bank in a down year and in between studio albums.