You may not know this but I’m a huge Maroon 5 fan. Like many I was hooked with the release of ‘Song About Jane’. The album was a perfect mix of pop, guitar, and a touch of funk. ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long’ hit and completed my full on Maroon 5 man crush. ‘Hands All Over’ followed with less than stellar results while still being a decent album.
I had hoped ‘Overexposed’ would be a return to form. Instead I’m faced with possibly the worst Maroon 5 album to date. I know this sounds a bit presumptuous, harsh, and even a tad trollish, but this is an undeniable fact. Now before you ready your Adam Levine themed torches and pitchforks let me explain.
The album opens with ‘One More Night’. The infectious opening guitar riff feels right. Then the rest of the band comes in…at least this is the part where the rest of the band would normally come in. Instead we’re subjected to canned electronic drum loops with what I can only hope is a bass guitar or a derivative thereof. Granted this is the first track and a lead single. Maybe this is an isolated indecent.
Next is ‘Payphone’ featuring Wiz Khalifa. The song starts with Adam lamenting about spending his millions on a pay phone (something I don’t thing he has trouble with). I was right. This song is different from the first. It’s different because it’s missing the entire freaking band! Where’s the guitar, the bass, the drums? Yet again we’re greeted with cliche drum loops and a synth piano melody. I won’t even get into the token rap interlude by Wiz Khalifa. It’s best we not think about it.
The rest of the album follows this pattern ad nauseam, and therein lies the problem. You can talk about the style of music, whether it’s in line with previous albums, or if the band has sold out, but that’s not the issue. Simply put:
‘Overexposed’ is the worst Maroon 5 album to be date because it’s missing the rest of the band!
Really what did the rest of the band do during the recording of this album? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Besides Adam Levine, the next most featured member of the band is James Valentine on guitar. Though hi contributions amount to a some rhythmic backings and a few licks. Even that is a small fraction of the entire album. On the bright side at least James isn’t the drummer or bass player. Both barely make a peep throughout the entire affair. Let me remind you, this is a Maroon 5 album here folks.
For all intents and purposes this is a Adam Levine solo album. Had it been titled as such I wouldn’t have really minded. Sure it’s mindless pop but at least it would have been up front and honest. When I see the name Maroon 5 on an album cover I expect it to actually feature the entire band for the majority of the record.
I suspect the case of the missing bandmates has something to do with the wildly successful single ‘Moves Like Jagger’ from the previous album. You can almost hear the desperation as they try to churn out another hit of the same caliber. This album feels like a cheap cash in trying to popularize on a hit single by trying every variation on the formula and hoping something sticks. It’s not a terrible album. It’s not even the worst album I’ve heard. Though a Maroon 5 album it is not.
Who knows, maybe they’ll pull a SqaureEnix and release ‘Overexposed-2: Now with missing band members’.
Brian is the Managing Director here at Substance TV. He is the host of Substance TV, Game Grief, and co-host of Substance TV LIVE. A graphic designer by trade, his other love of 15 years is the bass guitar. Though he shares his love with his family as well. Luckily he has a wife who supports his video game game addiction, and his two amazing children. You can find him on Google + or via his Twitter @fortressfruit.