Thursday, July 5, 2012

Maroon 5's Overexposed, and Adam Loves It

Everyone's giving Maroon 5 shit for making a POP album. I find this incredibly annoying because I was super-excited for their new record, Overexposed. Yes, this album is not about a band. It's about Adam as a POP star. So what? What did they have to lose? Their relevance was swishing straight down the drain until they changed their ways and decided to work with Benny Blanco and Shellback, proteges of power POP tag team Dr. Luke and Max Martin, on Moves Like Jagger. The electro-POP banger revitalized the Maroon Platoons' careers, and so when it came time to create a new record, they decided to follow the pot of gold.

I'll admit, I loathe Payphone. It's completely forgettable, but what do I know? The song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Beautiful Goodbye is similarly blech-worthy. Fortunately, the rest of the album is a bit better.  Hit-factory boys like Benny, Shellback, Ryan Teddybear and the almighty Max Martin make this one slick production. However, nothing on this album is as good as Moves Like Jagger, and part of the reason seems to be that no one tested the tracks on the hips. For such glossy POP, these songs lack the expected clubby dance groove. Take the second single, for instance. One More Night is beautifully produced in an Ace of Base bubble-gum reggae fashion by Max Martin, the man behind Beautiful Life, but as glitzy as the track is, it's far too slow for Friday night gyration. On the other end of the spectrum we have Lucky Strike, with beats so fast that we have to take a quick dose of mdma before heading to the sorority house for some white girl high kicks. Speaking of back in time bands, Doin' Dirt features sliding synths heavily reminiscent of ABBA, also known as the gay man's Beatles. This is the one truly danceable track on the record, so even though it's not the best song ever, it's quite enjoyable. The dancing queen that I am, Doin' Dirt quenches my need for a fix.

Some of the songs are just so so beautiful. Daylight possesses a chorus worthy of high school nostalgia. Adam's voice soars and loops as he sings, "And when the daylight comes, I'll have to go, but tonight I'm gonna hold you so close / 'Cuz in the daylight, we'll be on our own, but tonight I need to hold you so close." Sad is a sugary sweet piano ballad, that, like Daylight, is perfect for that transitory time between the end of August and the start of September, when everyone mourns the end of summer and anxiously anticipates the (weather and life-related) changes autumn will bring.

Tickets is promising, but the bland verses never seem to live up to the beautifully melodic choruses. Ditto for The Man Who Never Lied. Take that and reverse it for Love Somebody, which has slightly sweeter verses than both of the latter, but a chorus that's a bit too mediocre, making for a song that, despite it's shiny synths, is altogether forgettable. Ladykiller tries to be cool and funky, like a '70s fro, but ends up sounding sleepy. Fortune Teller is just a bad song with stupid lyrics, "I never know how the future will go, I don't know what to tell ya, I'm not a fortune tellah." This is like when Katy Perry tried to rhyme "ah ah ah" with "sky sky sky" on Firework. Suddenly, her lack of a high school education became frighteningly clear.

Though the album itself is of mixed quality, I still love how unapologetically POP it is. ;) Not since Katy P's Teenage Dream have we seen such synthilicious froth. Adam was never a Marina, anyway. He never wrote material on his own; he was ALWAYS a collaborator, even on Maroon 5's gorgeous debut, Songs About Jane. Therefore, we're not missing out an opportunity to hear some beautiful artistry by having Maroon 5 lean in a more mainstream direction. That opportunity never existed to begin with.

What do you all think of the record? Do you appreciate Maroon 5's new sound? Do you despise it? Do you not care?




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