A & M/Octone
Released June 26, 2012
Overexposed is Maroon 5’s fourth studio album. Adam Levine and company have gradually transitioned from funky rock into mainstream pop. The band totally embraces the pop genre with their latest outing. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, how about a little history?
Songs About Jane, their debut album, was their most acclaimed and unique record to date. Let’s just say it still is, by a long shot. It Won’t Be Soon Before Long saw Maroon move away from their signature sound. Gone was the funk. They welcomed groovy guitar solos and watered down lyrics about how much love hurts. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just a safe approach to such a successful debut. “Makes Me Wonder” and “Won’t Go Home Without You” became Maroon 5 signatures. Hands All Over was poised to be a return to form for the 5-piece, especially with producer Mutt Lange involved. Didn’t happen. Instead, the band stalled. Even though the album was clean, refined, polished, and well-produced, but offered some of the most bland lyrics and melodies they had ever done, regardless of catchy tunes like “Give A Little More” and Misery”. It remains their most “stable” album, as far as production and vocals/instrumentation goes. After HAO, Maroon 5 released a new single entitled “Moves Like Jagger”. This would be what completely changed Maroon 5. The band completely left the Songs About Jane sound behind. They are currently embracing mainstream pop with Overexposed.
This will likely enrage long time Maroon 5 fans, and make new fans dance and sing with joy. Let’s not jump to any conclusions though, let’s look at Overexposed, track by track, and see if their new direction is a good thing or a bad thing. Let’s go:
One More Night is the band coming out of the gates saying “We want to be mainstream, we think!”. No one truly knows what’s going on in the heads of the band at this point. Adam Levine said in a recent interview that he wanted his own record label. There is a possibility they are making music they don’t like on purpose. Who knows? This opening tune is poppy, but with a dash of hip hop. It has a pretty sick beat with a catchy chorus. For new fans only.
Payphone is the first single off of the new album. It features rapper Wiz Khalifa. This is proof the band has somewhat abandoned their original sound. Although it is extremely catchy, the song gets old pretty fast. I would rather listen to a non-Khalifa version. His rap is filled with unnecessary cursing and nonsense. Disappointing first single, should have been another track. The lyrics are still classic Maroon 5 though.
Daylight is ho-hum. The pace of the song seems off, even though the lyrics are some of the best on the album. It’s like a beautiful misfire. It’s pegged as lead singer Adam Levine’s favorite song on the album. He claims it reminds him of “She Will Be Loved”. Adam must be in denial or just smoking something. It’s a little too sappy as well.
Lucky Strike is a one-song party. It’s upbeat, fun, and well, that’s it. The chorus is very bland, but the tempo carries the tune along nicely. It’s another misfire, unfortunately. It’s only good for a party or blaring with the windows down. The end of the song has a nice little tempo change that sounds pretty cool though.
The Man Who Never Lied has some diverse lyrics, such as the line “Honesty is the worst policy”, but it tries too hard to fit in. It’s not very special. The whole Hollywood Boulevard line totally ruins the song, making the song seem a little…fake.
Love Somebody is when the album starts to get a head of steam. This little number is totally fresh. It is the best showcase of the band’s new direction. Levine sounds the most sincere here, singing “I really wanna love somebody, I think about you every single day”. The lyrics are few, but are meaningful and sung with purpose. I’m not a fan of dance beats, but it sounds great as a whole. Very solid track.
Ladykiller is a sick tune. A groovy opening beat, old-school Maroon 5 lyrics and style. It just sounds good. One line in particular “She’ll eat you alive, as soon as she smells your blood in the water”, sounds like something the Maroon 5 of old would sing. The song’s meaning has been discussed, and is a little controversial as to who he is calling a “Ladykiller”. Doesn’t matter, it’s one of the best on the album.
Fortune Teller is another solid number. The chorus is what makes the song great. Levine sings “I’ll never change but I want you to stay”, which I am assuming means he will continue to be a jerk and keep on dating women one after another. At least he’s being honest with the girl. “I don’t know what to tell you, I’m not a fortune teller” is the main part of the chorus, and is sung with sincerity. The vocals are very nice here. The beat is pretty nifty here also. It’s one of the better songs on the record.
Sad is said to be another one of Levine’s personal favorites. I can sort of see why this time. The song sounds honest and heartfelt. It’s the slowest song on the album, which is a fresh change of pace. Overall, it is middle of the road, as the chorus is too simple to be special.
Tickets is a very angry song. Levine seems to be opening up about an ex. He sings “You’re perfect on the outside but nothing at the core”. Believe it or not, there ARE women out there that use and abuse guys like Adam, but he’s not innocent either. He is very dirty. Always has been, but so was Prince, and he’s a legend. Anyways, back on track, the lyrics are great, very entertaining. The “La la la la la la la ” gets annoying and ultimately brings the song down in the end. It’s average at best, to be honest.
Doin’ Dirt is one of the danciest and poppiest on the album. It is also pretty boring. The lyrics show promise, but there’s not enough flare or originality here. It’s below average. Not too impressive.
Beautiful Goodbye is the best song on Overexposed. When I say “best”, I mean it has a great melody, beautiful lyrics, charm, and gorgeous vocals. It truly is worthy of its name. It’s just plain beautiful. It’s a love story that is supposed to be sad, but ends up being this bittersweet, dreamy little tune. You will want to put this one on repeat. The lyrics are classic Maroon 5, truly. There’s a mention of “mascara” in there, which means Levine is on top of his game, with signature Maroon 5, woman-centered serenading.
Wipe Your Eyes is decent, but nothing special. It boasts a fairly powerful chorus and solid melodies, but falls a little flat due to its ho-hum lyrics. Nonetheless, it is still decent. It runs a little too long for my liking.
So there you have it. It’s a pretty mixed affair. I have had a love/hate relationship with Overexposed from day one. I feel the same way now. The album is mediocre. I would only recommend it to longtime Marron fans, but even they may be disappointed. Longtime fan or not, there’s a little something here for everyone, even though half are hits and half are misses.
2.5 out of 5