Maroon 5: Looking distinctly un-maroon.
Would it be reductive of me to call Maroon 5 superior loung music? I really don’t mean it in a pejorative way and lounge music always strikes me as deeply luxurious and indulgent. I am aware that many people do call their particular brand of polished pop-rock boringly grating or gratingly boring. However, I’m a big fan of the band. Like many others, I was hooked in by This Love and She Will Be Loved (and in particular, Sunday Morning, which I like to play on my favourite day of the week*) Unlike many others, I stuck with the band through their second album. On Makes Me Wonder, the band perfected hotel lobby pop, and produced the delicious Wake Up Call (accompanied by one of the most memorably music videos of late, the band certainly have a knack for visuals). Recently, Adam Levine has been featured as a judge on America’s hybrid of The X Factor/American Idol, The Voice. I’ve read that he’s the only judge that actually gives musical criticism, which I guess makes him their version of Dannii Minogue (recently banished to the pop-culture graveyard during The X Factor transition massacre of early 2011). Regardless of his talent show capabilites, Levine’s latest output remains as competent as ever. In many ways, they remind me of a less cynical and bitter version of The 88, no bad thing. Before I launch into their latest effort, here’s a reminder of Maroon 5 at their best with my favourite record of theirs, Won’t Go Home Without You:
Glee's version of Misery: Probably with more hair-gel and blazers than Levine had imagined.
Hands All Over (along with its questionable cover art) has all the features of a great Maroon 5 album. Suitable pining over girls, a sprinkling of nostalgia and a generous dousing of regret. The first single, about a tempestuous relationship, Misery was quite successful in America (a bit of a non-starter over here, though, it seems that Levine’s subsequent efforts have never fully translated this side of the pond). Lest we forget, it was Glee-ified by Darren Criss during Glee’s second season. There have been a string of songs, from the bizarre but sweet Never Gonna Leave This Bed to the rockier-than-usual Hands All Over. In an attempt to branch out, I’m going to highlight their latest single, Runaway. This seems distinct from many other Maroon 5 records, right down to the video which must be the first not to centre on Levine’s pretty boy image. It seems the perfect song to play on a rainy day spent inside a beach house on holiday and is probably the closest to Jack Johnson that my musical taste-buds will ever allow:
If that whets your apetite or reignites your love for contemporary rock/pop boy groups (and really, if this doesn’t, nothing will) check out Maroon 5’s summer sets here, on YouTube.
*The one that comes before Monday.