Release Date: Jun 26, 2012
Record label: A&M
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
It takes chutzpah for a band to call its fourth album Overexposed, especially when the singer has spent most of the past year zinger-slinging in a comfy red chair on The Voice. You can hear that chutzpah in the blinged-up disco sheen of Maroon 5's new LP, which is why it's their best yet. This is where Adam Levine cops to the slick Hollywood sex-panther role he's perfected on TV, wheedling and pitching woo to every lady within earshot, even though they know he won't remember their name in the morning.
Adam Levine and company have blatantly and unapologetically embraced pop music’s current mainstream sensibilities on Maroon 5’s recently released Overexposed, with polarizing results. The band’s newest album is likely to alienate longtime followers and music snobs alike, but will undoubtedly excite newer fans who embraced their massive smash hit “Moves Like Jagger,” which is the crowd this record clearly aims towards. Despite being executive produced by Max Martin (the man responsible for crafting pop confections for the likes of Britney Spears and Katy Perry, which is a huge warning for the type of electro-dance-pop you’re going to find in abundance here), the album still manages to include a few glimpses of old school M5 for the die hards, such as the piano ballad “Sad” and the mid-tempo closer “Beautiful Goodbye.
Maroon 5 settled into a cleanly contoured blue-eyed soul groove on 2010's Hands All Over and were rewarded with a clear commercial stumble -- a situation somewhat forgotten in light of Adam Levine's 2011 elevation to superstardom via his judgeship on The Voice. Levine didn't abandon his band once he became a TV star. Just as the first season finished, Maroon 5 recorded a duet with Christina Aguilera, "Moves Like Jagger," a single far more modern than anything on Hands All Over and, not surprisingly, a much bigger hit than anything from that 2010 LP.
The title of Maroon 5's fourth album is a straightforward declaration: owing to 8m sales of the 2011 single Moves Like Jagger, plus leader Adam Levine's stint as a judge on the US edition of The Voice, the public have seen rather a lot of this band lately. But this album could change that, because nothing here is in Jagger's insanely catchy league. That's not for want of trying – where previously Maroon 5 mainly wrote their own songs, here they've tried to reproduce the Jagger effect by collaborating with Britney Spears songwriter Max Martin, among other expensive hitmakers, but the songs they came up with are not especially memorable.
Thanks to his role as a throne-swiveling talent scout on NBC’s hit singing competition The Voice, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is now a stand-alone star — one who seems awfully pleased to see his every move, from the silly beefs with fellow Voice coach Christina Aguilera to the flings with Victoria’s Secret models, get street-fliered across the media landscape. Which makes it all too tempting to put him to his own show’s test. What if we could listen to a new Maroon 5 album with our backs turned to the band? If we didn’t know about Levine’s trysts, his Voice image, and the band’s yo-yoing chart history (including 2010’s disappointing Hands All Over and last summer’s smash ”Moves Like Jagger”)? Would we still hear star potential in these boys from Brentwood? In the case of Overexposed, Maroon 5’s fourth album in 10 years, the answer is mostly no.
It’s truly amazing to think that there was a time when Maroon 5 were not considered pop enough. However, that’s exactly what happened in 2002 when the young, Adam Levine-fronted band known as Maroon 5 turned in their first post-Kara’s Flowers album, Songs About Jane, to their label, who insisted that they didn’t hear a single in the batch. Upset and angered, the group turned in “Harder to Breathe”, the hardest-rocking song the band has ever done (to date), and lo’ and behold, it was not only their first single, but also their first Top 40 hit.
Why are Maroon 5 still around? Because they love a good hook more than they love any of their old Prince or Police records. Plus, they’ve got the smarts to moo-oo-oo-oove with the times. ‘Sad’ is an Adele-apeing weepie, ‘Payphone’ has a guest rap from Wiz Khalifa, and both ‘Lucky Strike’ and ‘Fortune Teller’ feature cod-dubstep breakdowns.
CLARE AND THE REASONS “KR-51” (Frog Stand) A lone banjo plinks as Clare Manchon sings “Empty, empty,” in “This Too Shall Pass” on “KR-51,” the third album by Clare and the Reasons. But she’s not isolated for long. By the end of the song, her voice has multiplied into a choir, and she’s surrounded by strings, horns, a quasi-military drumbeat and gossamer swirls of harp, all to bolster and reassure her as she wishes, “let it wash away.” For Clare and the Reasons — Ms.
Maroon 5 have become a barometer for today’s pop standards. Fraser McAlpine 2012 Everyone has friends that don’t wish to keep up with the daily goings-on in global popular music, but like the odd update now and again so as not to feel left out and fossily. Maroon 5 are fast becoming their perfect band, being a fairly reliable and glossy barometer of how modern pop songs work – give or take a dubstep breakdown here or there.