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A drop in the ocean of mainstream music
on 1 September 2014
I've been a fan of Maroon 5 since the beginning. I've held on through the waiting, through the rocky second album, and despite the rising celebrity status of the lead singer which made me wonder about the future for the band itself. I loved their third album as it seemed like they were finding their sound again but with new maturity and experience. But with the changing atmosphere of mainstream music seeming to force everyone to follow the same club music type format and the band seeming to sink into it with their fourth album 'Overexposed' , I started to fear that Maroon 5 are going the same way.
Despite quite enjoying the fourth album for being yet another successful exploration of a genre of music whilst also maintaining their unique style, I said to myself that if this album let me down by officially confirming the loss of Maroon 5's acousitc/folk/soul sound in favour of the mainstream 'club' sound (as has happened with so many other musicians) then I would officially give up on Maroon 5.
In all, I'd basically say that I'm hanging on with the band by a thread, but I'm willing to hang in there for one more.
Where the lyrics of previous albums were more heartfelt/poetic, the lyrics of this album are for the most part more short and simple verses to make room for those endless anthem type repetitions, however there are a couple of songs that seem to want to express something deeper then the 'hey girl' type of notion despite being wrapped up in dance beats.
The music itself has lost its acoustic sound almost entirely; instead you've got the drum machine and the electronic/dance instruments and the vocals have the echo effect on a lot of the songs, as well as the whole pitch bending thing. The only thing I could pick out as a Maroon 5 'sound' was the guitar picks that are laced into the music. Where their previous album dipped its toe in the water of mainstream sound with songs like 'Moves Like Jagger' but balanced it with songs like 'Sad' which was a piano ballad that screamed with emotion, pretty much ALL of the songs on this album are the same format and the same sound and that makes the album quite bland.
Adam Levine's vocals have always been something that keeps me coming back to Maroon 5, I enjoy the sound of his voice and I've enjoyed the way his singing style has grown and developed through the albums, it's got a soulful edge to it and the notes are clear and unwavering like some singers. On this album he's up in the high notes for a lot of it, and other times the shortness of the verses has him practically talking the lyrics, but that 'something' is still there and it even lifts some songs into being noticeable and even lovely.
Whilst I'm sure there are some definite winning singles for the band with this album, I think the album as a whole is a faceless product of the current format of mainstream music and I feel that I've lost the band I loved, and all of their potential as musicians, because of it.