Top critical review
Jane Won't Be Impressed
on 16 January 2015
It’s a rare occasion that I buy a current chart release. Impulse buying is far less irregular, but because I don’t tend to listen to the radio much, and usually avoid the music channels the play the more modern songs, largely because most of it’s rubbish, even my impulse buying tends to be albums from older acts. By and large, modern music passes me by, apart from the odd new release from a band I follow. Mostly, when I catch what I’ve “missed”, I discover I’m glad to see the back of it.
Having caught a couple of Maroon 5 singles on the music channels, however, I was impressed enough to take a chance on them. This method of buying albums isn’t a new one for me, but it’s one I approach with a lot more caution since having got my fingers burned buying Amy Studt’s debut release. The difference in style between the band’s first two releases, however, persuaded me that they weren’t to be a one-trick pony and the simple pop based sound that under laid both tracks suggested that it was likely to be a decent enough listen, even if the rest of the album wasn’t quite up to the same standard.
In the end, this is a fairly well crafted pop album, but little more than that. There’s an interesting combination of influences and sounds that seems to do more than cloud the issues of what the band wants to be. Having a guitar does not a rock band make, and having a funky edge on occasion doesn’t make them a funk-soul band. There’s no doubt that Maroon 5 are accomplished musicians and fairly decent songwriters, with a level of lyrical subtlety that I suspect a band like Busted would kill for.
This album is attempting to appeal to all sorts of people, but ends up being a jack of all trades, and master of not terribly many of them. It’s a watered down version of nearly everything it tries to emulate, with the possible exception of “This Love”, which tries to be a bouncy pop track and succeeds admirably. I suspect that this is where the future lies if Maroon 5 are to have a decent career, but they’ll need to keep the level of song writing where it is at present, as there are a lot of guitar led pop bands around at the moment and, whilst none of them sound as mature and as intelligent as Maroon 5, a lot of them sound like they’re having more fun and are a lot more consistent.
This is an album for playing in the background when you have other things to do but really want to have music to help you do it. It’s also for those who want something with a little more depth than modern pop music or who listen to bands like Busted but are old enough to know better.