Released: Aug 29, 2014
Genre: Pop Rock, Electropop, Pop
Number Of Tracks: 11
Contrary to what Maroon 5 have been marketing this album as, it's less "a snapshot of our past, present and future" and more "Overexposed Part II."
VFeatured review by: retroguy02, on october 24, 2014 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: After the success of "Overexposed," Maroon 5 dropped several hints that their next album would be a "return" to their roots (or something like that). However, judging by their fifth album (imaginatively titled "V") - it's not to be so. On the contrary, this is in fact the first Maroon 5 record on which none of Levine's bandmates get a single songwriting credit. Instead, as on most of "Overexposed," there's a conveyor belt of up-to-date pop producers and songwriters manning the boards.
The three singles released so far are predictably earwormy and disposable, but they're not as strong or instantly catchy as the ones off "Overexposed" (or those from any of their first three records, for that matter). Sadly though, they're still the better tracks on the album.
There's a less prominent EDM influence here compared to their last record and hence the production is somewhat more organic and less synthetic, but that's where most comparisons to the "old Maroon 5" ends. // 5
Lyrics: The one thing that hasn't changed over the course of Adam Levine's highly successful 12-year music career is his topic of choice to sing about, and so in true Maroon 5 fashion, the songs' content doesn't go beyond sexuality, seduction and superficial love. The expression of said topics can range from salacious and borderline uncomfortable ("Baby I'm preying on you tonight / Hunt you down, eat you alive") to "Sugar"-y sweet ("Your sugar / Yes please / Would you come and pour it down on me / I'm right here, 'cause I need / a little love and a little sympathy").
Either way, the lyrics are like the music - disposable and not worth paying much attention to. And then there's 'the voice' delivering those lyrics (pun intended).
I've admired Adam Levine for having a distinct singing voice that's instantly identifiable on the radio, but his falsetto needs the right songs to do its thing. Although there's plenty of diversity in his singing styles here, he sings way too high through most of the record, it's almost like having your eardrums sandpapered. I'm not sure how much of it is auto-tuned, but his vocals on some songs ("Animals" comes to mind) almost sound chipmunked and border on self-parody. Hopefully the songs will smooth themselves out to some extent as the band takes them on the road, but for the next album someone really needs to tell him that "higher is not always better." // 5
Overall Impression: Although none of the singles ("Maps," "Animals' and "It Was Always You") is particularly strong, they're still among the catchiest tunes here. However, the best track in my opinion is "Sugar," a funky early Prince throwback that might as well have been on "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" - for once on the record, Adam's falsetto feels comfortingly familiar and it's one of the few moments (along with "Sex and Candy," a cover of the Marcy Playground's hit) on the album where the band returns to their old form.
Unfortunately, it seems like Maroon 5 has no intentions of reviving the funky, R&B-flavoured pop that characterized their first three records. It's a sad fate for a band that established its own signature sound the old-fashioned way - by writing and composing its own songs entirely in-house and playing them tirelessly on tour.
Ever since Adam Levine's super-successful gig on "The Voice," it seems like Maroon 5 is more than happy to bask in the commercial success brought to them by their new-found audience which is lapping up their newer, more generic, producer-outsourced sound. And given how things have turned out for them because of it (between "Moves Like Jagger" in 2011 and "Maps" in 2014, they've had six consecutive Top 10 singles on Billboard), that's unlikely to change.
Contrary to what Maroon 5 have been marketing this album as, it's less "a snapshot of our past, present and future" and more "Overexposed Part II." // 5