Published on July 4th, 2012 | by Phoenix0
Maroon 5 Still Looks a Bit “Overexposed”
Maroon 5’s rise to prominence is something of a tribute to the old saying “give it the old college try.” Their debut album Songs About Jane only became a hit after two years of constant touring and promotion. The band waited five years before releasing their follow-up It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, which was immediately commercially successful. However, after their third album Hands All Over didn’t sell as well, Maroon 5 rushed into the studio and put out Overexposed. I’ve always thought of Maroon 5 as a sort of “mature boy band,” one whose songs are much more layered and complex than traditional boy bands (and who write their own music). They more or less maintain the same persona on Overexposed, with some differences.
Overexposed has definite high points. The first three tracks are full of pop-radio beauty, with the tailor-made club beat of One More Night and the reflective, sad, and slightly spiteful Payphone. I’m no rap fan, but I really like Wiz Khalifa’s rap on the latter track (maybe that’s just my vindictive side rearing its head). Daylight is also a very solid track, with a good, if common, chord progression. It’s sort of wistfully reflective like Payphone, and those songs flow into each other well. Maroon 5 knows how to sound emotional without sounding overwrought or melodramatic, something they do not on just the aforementioned songs but also on Sad and Beautiful Goodbye. Overexposed, on the whole, has more bitter songs than sweet ones, and Maroon 5 handles that emotion better, I think.
The more clubby-sounding songs on the album (with the exception of One More Night), sound a little overproduced, with a much less cohesive sound. Many of the beats on these songs also sound weird and out of place, like Adam Levine or someone said, “We’re gonna make a song with a techno beat,” and tried to force it into a song that had already been written. This is evident on Lucky Strike and Fortune Teller, both part of the album’s lagging midsection.
Starting with the ninth track, Sad, the album does pick up a little. Sad features a scaled-down sound with just a piano and vocals, and breathes new life into the album just as it’s starting to stagnate. Tickets features some interesting lyrics on an album that is otherwise cookie-cutter in that area: “She’s got tickets to her own show/But nobody wants to go.” Doin’ Dirt, if you can get past that title, features a glittery musical track and some interesting syncopation. The drums and bass are also consistently good throughout the whole album.
Overall, the album does have more good songs on it and stronger singles than Hands All Over, and should help Maroon 5 win back any goodwill they lost as a result of that album. But Overexposed fails to live up to Songs About Jane, which is still their best and most cohesive album to date. In fact, it’s probably not as good as It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, either. I’d give it a 6/10. I would recommend checking it out, but don’t bother with buying the deluxe edition. Wipe Your Eyes is good, a nice complement to Beautiful Goodbye. But Wasted Years doesn’t measure up to the version on their Live: Friday the 13th DVD, with a harsher, forced beat. Kiss is just weird, with Adam Levine trying to channel old-time Tracy Chapman when, clearly, it doesn’t work.