New Maroon 5: hardly creative

It’s hard to believe that “Songs about Jane” was released nearly 14 years ago, as It was Maroon 5’s debut album. In the last decade, Maroon 5 became a household name as it captured listeners with hits such as “She Will Be Loved,” “Makes Me Wonder” and “Moves Like Jagger.”  Now Maroon 5, led by lead singer Adam Levine who is also a judge on the hit show on “NBC’s The Voice,” joined by his fellow band mates Jesse Carmichael, Micky Madden and Ryan Dusick deliver their fifth studio album. The band hopes to remind fans, that the band is still around and going stronger.

With their fifth album, released two years after the 2012 hit “Overexposed,” Maroon 5 reminds us that they have been around for a decade and they are here to stay.  “V” proves the idea that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  “V” doesn’t really offer much change or innovation from Maroon 5’s previous releases as it focuses on the same theme of past and soured relationships. 

2012’s “Overexposed” was reviewed as their “poppiest” album. It seems Maroon 5 is trying to top previous successes by reinventing their musical style. Levine gave insight in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, that the band was trying something new with incorporating 70s and 80s pop themes to their new album. Levine continued to elaborate that “It was a really cool opportunity to go in a direction that [he’d] always wanted to go in – kind of bridging the gap between things that [he] loves about soul and funk and Prince but also very poppy.”

The album opens with the lead single “Maps,” which showcases Adam Levine’s familiar vocal work. “Maps” is similar to his past hit singles such as “Makes me Wonder,” “PayPhone” and “Moves like Jagger.” “Maps” lyrical theme is as comparable to old Maroon 5 hits with a similar sounding chorus, “All the roads you took came back to me / So I’m following the map that leads to you.”  The song portrays what made Maroon 5 famous with incorporating “love and lost” themes to its music.

The album only features one guest artist, as the band teamed up with label-mate Gwen Stefani. She is featured on the last track, “My Heart is Open,” which sounds like a dreamy ballad with the perfect combination of both artists’ vocal types. Levine, a Tenor, and Stefani, a Mezzo-Soprano, create an inspirational love song.  Lastly, another stand out track is titled, “Leaving California.” A song that could be in running for the next hit single is the best on the album as it features a slow, yet catchy tune mixed with a nice chorus.

If there is any lasting impression, “V” offers much of the same tune we are all familiar with Maroon 5’s past work.  But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as fans have learned to accept that this is what Maroon 5 is known for: their catchy pop music and the prevailing theme of getting over a past relationship or to mend a failing one. 

The album definitely tries to move in a new direction but it also preserves the sound what made Maroon 5 what it is today.  Levine closes the interview with Los Angeles Times saying “We thought we’d get back with our original sound, but also bridge the gap with the new stuff that we’ve been doing. I think it’s an all-encompassing kind of record.”

 “V” isn’t extraordinary or Grammy worthy but it does enough to bring it’s base fans back for another listen.