Thursday, June 28, 2012

Maroon 5's latest is definitely 'Overexposed'

            Following their barely successful third album, Hands All Over, Maroon 5 has returned with Overexposed, an album that is overexposed with too much generic pop sounds and nothing solely original.
            The band’s release of the number one hit "Moves Like Jagger” was their last album’s most successful single, but it came at the expense of it being a re-issue. With an infectious whistle and a fun beat, “Moves” probably sucked a lot of originality and star power from this once wildly original band.
            Overexposed starts off with a forgetful, reggae-scented track called “One More Night,” and serves as the second single on the album. The second track, and first single, “Payphone,” featuring rapper Wiz Khalifa, is one of the better tracks on the album, but still tends to get annoying after a while.
I think it’s because singer Adam Levine has a high voice and some of the notes he hits are just too extravagant for my liking. It’s definitely not a bad song, but with radio overkill for the past two months, it’s just a bit much.
After “Payphone,” the album plays around with a different medley of sounds and genres without a clear focus on what this band is trying to do. It’s been 10 years since their debut album, Songs About Jane, came out, and the band has definitely lost their rocker edge since then.
Take the track “Lucky Strike.” It’s a pretty good track with a nice tempo, but it sounds so boy band-ish to me. The “oh oh oh’s” of the chorus sounds like the constant chanting of any song by the British group The Wanted, but teeters on the verge of the Nickelodeon stupidity of Big Time Rush.
The band also recycles some disco and pop moods on the tracks “Tickets,” “Doin’ Dirt,” and “Lady Killer,” all of which are pretty forgetful. “Tickets” even sounded like a rejected ABBA track from way back when.
Alas, there were some highlights on the album like the soothing “Daylight.” A track about not wanting to leave your loved one when morning comes around, it stood out strongly from everything else on the album. Levine’s vocals are more restrained and tolerable than a few other songs on here, and the lyrics are beautiful.
“And when the daylight comes I'll have to go, but tonight I'm gonna hold you so close. Cause in the daylight we'll be on our own, but tonight I need to hold you so close,” Levine sings passionately.
Where all the other songs felt almost endless, this is the one I wish were longer.
“Sad,” evokes an almost hokey Billy Joel vibe, with its strong lyrics and sole piano accompaniment.  I think this is the strongest track for Levine’s vocals, which showcases his lower register while balancing with his usual high notes.
I got a sense of Adele’s album 21 on this track. With heartbreaking lyrics about regret over losing a loved one, it sounds like the cousin track to her hit “Someone Like You.” It’s definitely another highlight of the album.
While the album’s opening was forgetful, it’s bookend, “Beautiful Goodbye,” was just that, beautiful. “Beautiful” sounds like something you would listen to on a Caribbean island, with some nice rhythms and a vintage record sound underlying the background. It also reminded me of Bruno Mars’ song “The Lazy Song.”
While definitely not the worst album of the year, it might be one of the worst for Maroon 5. Overexposed is an album where the intrigue of it was propelled by “Payphone,” but won’t prosper beyond that.