Maroon 5’s new release Overexposed is ironically and aptly titled. I’ll unpack that statement momentarily.
After the stratospheric success of Maroon 5’s hit “Moves Like Jagger,” there has understandably been a lot of build-up and anticipation for this next album—but that also means the new album had a lot to live up to. I’m gonna be honest—“Moves Like Jagger” pretty much pissed me off. I totally understand why it was such hit—it’s so damn catchy—but it’s one of those songs that is annoyingly catchy. I didn’t wanna remember that silly whistle, but I couldn’t help it. If anything, I wanted Overexposed to have something to wash “Moves Like Jagger” out of my head for awhile.
No such luck, I’m afraid.
Yeah, I know the first single “Payphone” is already near the top of the charts (that’s an ironic title, isn’t it—does anyone remember what a “payphone” is?), but I have a suspicion that “Payphone” isn’t climbing on its own merit—it’s more like it’s riding the wave made by “Jagger,” and I seriously doubt it would be getting much attention if “Jagger” hadn’t happened.
The thing is, “Payphone” is about as good as this album gets. Maroon 5 is so hooked on hooks that every song attempts to have one—and as a result, they all sort of bleed together like one big pop-fest with nothing that really stands out. It’s sort of a shame, really. Frontman Adam Levine seems like such a nice guy in his role as a coach on NBC’s The Voice—not to mention he really does have a stellar voice himself. He’s so likable as a person that naturally you want to like his band, too. But there’s just not much on Overexposed that stands out and makes me want to spin it again. Catchy beats and the occasional hook aren’t enough in themselves to make good pop. Something needs to make it…well…POP. And nothing does.
And that brings me to the ironic appropriateness of the title, Overexposed.
When a photograph is overexposed, it means the lens allowed too much light into the camera when the picture was being taken, and as a result, the light causes everything in the shot to be sort of washed out, with little contrast between lights and darks. That, in essence, describes this whole album. Maroon 5 has so infused the record with light dance-pop that there is no contrast, nothing to make any of the imagery stand out. It’s just washed-out pop.
What’s even more ironic is that my favorite song on Overexposed is “Sad,” and only because it kind of reminds me of an Adele song. Nothing even comes close to “Jagger” on this record, so I guess I’m stuck with that song for awhile. Dangit.
ALBUM RATING: 2 Stars (out of five)