Following the popularity of last year’s surprise hit Moves Like Jagger, Maroon 5 have moved swiftly from a funk-influenced band with rock sensibilities into a straight-up pop group. While Moves Like Jagger did ooze of style, it still fit comfortably with the band’s catalogue of upbeat and fashionable music. From the opening lines of Payphone, the first single from Overexposed, it was clear they were moving on. By the time Wiz Khalifastarted his rap verse, it was even more clear they aren’t looking back.
It’s a move that is working for them as they head toward making the title of their album a reality. Lead singer Adam Levine‘s recent collaborations with acts like Kanye West and Gym Class Heroes, along with his co-hosting duties on The Voice likely gave him the realization that they could shoot for the moon and actually get higher. Overexposed brings them to that level between the popularity of Payphone and their current chart-topper One More Night; it’s almost surprising that they have achieved a much bigger level of popularity than back in 2004 when This Love and She Will Be Loved were back-to-back hits, especially in an age where the career-span of any pop act is just a couple years. Maroon 5 are experiencing a second peak.
Songs like This Love and their 2007 Hot 100 #1 hit Makes Me Wonder have no place on this album, however, as they have dropped their old influences in favour of the beat-centric, highly melodic and lyrically simple songs of this record, with the one exception being One More Night, a song that pretty much slides under the radar as an underwhelming introduction to the album. Despite it being the longest running #1 of the year, it will likely fly back under the radar before year’s end. Lucky Strike is an obvious single while The Man Who Never Lied and Ladykiller are both catchy but both get lost amongst the rest of the album that rarely deviates from the glossy production and multilayered melodies.
Maroon 5 have won out in the short term with their adopted sound, a sound that will likely be temporary as they will likely discover songs of this nature don’t stay fresh for long. Adam Levine sounds more believable when he is behind songs that sound cheesy on the surface but underneath come from a place of passion. This album doesn’t come from the same place and ends up feeling synthetic as if there’s a purposeful distance between the music on this and the records that came before. There’s a reason why overexposure isn’t considered a good thing.
1. One More Night
2. Payphone [featuring Wiz Khalifa]
4. Lucky Strike
5. The Man Who Never Lied
6. Love Somebody
8. Fortune Teller
11. Doin’ Dirt
12. Beautiful Goodbye