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Now, let's lay down the line before I head into this review: I am a massive Maroon 5 fan. Ever since their first single was released, I've been hooked - they have a distinct sound, some catchy tunes and are, in my personal opinion, quite simply downright cool. So, as you can imagine, when they released their latest album - Overexposed - I was pre-ordering on iTunes, and shoving it straight on my playlist. And once again, Maroon 5 have impressed me - even if their overall sound has changed slightly (bringing them slamming into the charts of today, which have evolved entirely in the past decade). So, with my fandom expressed, let us proceed...
The playlist from my ears:
1 - One More Night: With a slight reggae feel, this song has a catchy tune, and after a few listens, you can certainly hum along (and sing with the multiple "oo-oo-oo's"), even if the words aren't as easy to pick up. The chorus is though, and I can imagine that in a club, it's one to yell out file waving your jaegerbomb in the air! My rating = 8/10
2 - Payphone (feat. Whiz Khalifa): I love this song. Catchy tune, catchy words, and a typical Maroon 5 sound. It reminds me of "She Will Be Loved", which was one of Maroon 5's earlier releases - it's definitely one to sing along to in the car! My rating = 10/10
3 - Daylight: I like the beat in this song. It has a heavy drum beat, and a heartfelt message in the song, which is sure to tug on the heart strings. The chorus in particular has some weight behind it, and some beautiful singing. A good chill-out track. My rating = 7/10
4 - Lucky Strike: My favourite track on the album, I have had this on repeat in my car and not got bored. Another one that would be great in a bar, the chorus features some loud woah-ing and yeh-ing, and has quite a rocky feel to the whole track. "One in a million, my lucky strike" is my quote of choice from the whole album. My rating = 10/10
5 - The Man Who Never Lied: In the middle of the album, and following the high energy of Lucky Strike, this song continues the feel-good movement. This song has a catchy chorus, and more woah-ing, so everyone can join in. With repetitive words and a good tune, it's easy to listen to and pick up. My rating = 9/10
6 - Love Somebody: Not my most favourite track, but I like the chorus. It's quite a pop sound, this track, especially compared to some of the other tracks mentioned previously, and I must admit, if I was going to skip any of the tracks, this may be one of them. A little boring after the previous numbers. My rating = 6/10
7 - Ladykiller: I think this track demonstrates the vocal ability of lead singer Levine. From low chest voice, he whacks out some heady falsetto before dropping back down again - as a performer, it certainly impressed me. A steady track, it has a quirky bit of guitar which I particularly like about 30 seconds before the end, but other than technical impressiveness, it isn't one of my favourite... My rating = 5/10
8 - Fortune Teller: I like this song. It has feeling behind it, and although it's a slower song, compared to some of the others, it's got a beautiful melody, and I enjoy listening to it - and isn't that the point of music? My rating = 7/10
9 - Sad: A pretty piano ballad in the middle of the whole album, it is a beautiful number, although the lyrics leave a lot to be desired - not the verses, or the beginning of the chorus, where he's "scared to death" and "kicking the curb", but when he simply sums it up as "I'm so sad... Sad..." it kind of loses it's flow, and lets it down slightly. It's like, oh, is that it...? A disappointing ending. My rating = 5/10
10 - Tickets: This has a techno approach to it, with some catchy lyrics and a good rhythm. I'd quite like to hear a slightly speeded up remix in the clubs, surrounded by strobe lighting and raving friends. My rating = 7/10
11 - Doin' Dirt: We're back in the club with this, and bopping along nicely with this track. With a repetitive and catchy run of lyrics, it's a winner with me. I like the chorus, and it's a good track to drive to! Again, perhaps a remix would be a good idea - and one I'd ike to experience. My rating = 8/10
12 - Beautiful Goodbye: The first song I listened to off the album, this one holds a special place in my heart, as it has some meaningful lyrics. I love how Maroon 5 have put this on the end of the album, as a farewell song if you like. It suits the album well, sums it all up and leaves the listener feeling relaxed, willing for more but satiated for the time being. It has a relaxing lilting beat and pretty words. Lovely. My rating = 9/10
And on the deluxe album...?
I bought the deluxe album from iTunes, for around £11.99, and it comes with three remixed tracks of Payphone and One More Night. They're equally as excellent as the rest of the album, although unless you're a massive fan of remixes, perhaps not worth the extra pennies! However, the other three extra tracks are worth it!
13 - Wipe Your Eyes: A pretty meaning behind this song, it has some interesting, exotic sounding backing vocals, which add a new depth. It's a fast song for a slow song's meaning, in my opinion, but it strangely works! My rating = 7/10
14 - Wasted Years: Now the start of this sounds like it's about to go all James Bond, and suddenly it develops into a reggae rhythm again, with this typical Maroon 5 sounding track. I like it, but it's not one of my favourites - I find it difficult to listen to sometimes... My rating = 5/10
15 - Kiss: Oh yes! Maroon 5's cover of Prince is astounding! With a more big band feel, I want to choreograph a massive showgirl routine to this, complete with shimmy to the drums in between "your extra time and your..." (insert drums here) "kiss". It's a brilliant version, and I loved finding it on my album! Perfect! My rating = 10/10
Well, now you've had a track break down, what can I say? Maroon 5 have not failed to impress, I am still hooked to this album, long after buying it, and I feel it will remain a firm favourite of mine for a fair few months. It has some catchy tunes, such as Payphone and Lucky Strike, which match up to their massive hit Moves Like Jagger, and I hope that we can expect some more smash hits from the band in the year to come.
Out of 12 songs, only a few disappoint, and even then, I don't rate a single one lower than 5/10, which for a rather picky music listener is pretty good going. There are some major winners in there too, with 10/10 and 9/10, and for this, I applause Maroon 5.
As for the album cover, it's quirky and bright, and a bit of an eyesore, and as I bought it online, I can't really comment on the inlay and content, hence the "satisfactory" mark I have given it. On seeing it, I guess I may change my mind, although I'm never blown away by album information inside... I'd rather just have a track list...
For me, it was well worth the money, and I've definitely played it enough to get my money back. I have got friends hooked enough to buy it as well, and we have the annoyingly bad habit of quoting lyrics now and then, demonstrating how catchy these tunes just are!
My overall album rating has to be a massive 9/10. Hooray!
Go and buy it, or if not the whole album, then specific songs. And the deluxe album is worth it for those three extra tracks - especially the Kiss cover!
It doesn't seem like 8 years since Maroon 5 first broke the charts, but it was in 2004 that I first came across them. I was impressed enough with what I heard from their first two singles on MTV to buy the album, but quickly realised I'd already heard the two best tracks and the rest of it wasn't as good. Future output didn't impress me and the band faded from their radar. Until the release of "Moves Like Jagger", which topped the charts in more than 20 countries and was played to death when I first started Bokwa, as the beat was perfect for an aerobics workout. So here I am again, hoping I've not already heard all a Maroon 5 album has to offer before I've heard the album.
Whatever I thought I was expecting, it wasn't the gentle reggae opening to "One More Night". Fairly quickly, there's more of a pop-dance influence on the song and I can see it being a decent song at the end of the night in a club. Although it's a much gentler start than expected, it's a song with a decent reggae groove to it and it's quite an enjoyable beginning to the album and I can see why the song was selected as the second single from the album.
I'm less impressed with the opening to the first single, "Payphone", which has a gentle ballad feel as it opens. Although it does pick up the tempo as the song goes, this is rarely little more than a relatively bland pop song, akin to the ones I wasn't all that keen on from their debut album. Although I'm not particularly prudish, I didn't think the lyrics called for all the swearing they contained, particularly in the rap section from Khalifa.
The guitar intro to "Daylight" comes as something of a surprise after what has come before. This is a heavily pop-rock influenced song and sounds a lot like a Coldplay song for the most part. Adam Levine's vocal separates the two bands here, so you can tell it's a Maroon 5 song, but the musical influence is never distinctly theirs and as I'm not a Coldplay fan, I don't particularly like this one.
There's another pop-rock style guitar intro to "Lucky Strike", but this time the influence is a lot more towards the likes of OK Go or Orson, two bands I'm a fan of. Quite quickly, there's an up-tempo dance beat coming in over the guitar, giving the song a similar beat to "Moves Like Jagger", which is another song I particularly like, so the combination of the two sounds makes this my favourite song on the album so far by a fairly hefty margin and it went straight onto the playlist of songs I have for when I'm out running.
Next up is "The Man Who Never Lied" which, despite opening with a stadium rock style "Woah" vocal and a fairly heavy drumbeat, doesn't really go anywhere. For the most part, it remains stuck in mid-tempo pop-rock territory and doesn't have a lot to make it stand out, particularly when compared to the previous song and the reggae beat that opened the album.
The synthesiser opening to "Love Somebody" sounds like something you would have heard on the soundtrack to "Tron". It's got a very 1980s synth-pop feel and a decent beat, until the chorus comes in and it gets a more modern dance-pop beat and descends back into something bland and nameless that even the return of the synthesiser over the choruses can't save.
Next up is "Ladykiller", which opens with a mid-tempo but very funky bassline. It's an impressive opening, especially with the slightly fuzzy production early on giving the song a very 70s funk feel. Sadly, Levine's falsetto over the music is quite distracting and it's a song that offers much more from the music than it does from the vocal. The guitar solo towards the end offers something a little different, but never quite fits into the general mood of the song and is another distraction. Fortunately, this is the shortest track on the album and ends quickly.
What is not so fortunate is the fuzzy, over-synthesised bass line that opens the next track, "Fortune Teller". Once the song gets going, it's not too bad, although it falls foul of the standard pop-dance blandness that seems to be Maroon 5's trademark and it's yet another track that passes by without doing anything particularly special.
"Sad" at least offers something a little different, as it's a piano-led pop ballad. This gives Adam Levine's vocal a chance to shine through more than it has thus far. Given that his vocals are one of the few distinctive points Maroon 5 have, it's very much called for. The song itself is a pretty good example of the art of the pop ballad and that alone makes it one of the better songs on the album.
Next up is "Tickets", which combines several aspects of earlier songs. It opens as a mid-tempo pop song, before a dance influenced synth-pop beat kicks in and it becomes something more akin to a club track. Unfortunately, whilst it expands musically, it doesn't do an awful lot in terms of the tempo, so it remains mired in bland territory. It could have been an Orson song with a little more tempo and a little more guitar, but as these were missing it remains a bit of a nothing song with perhaps the potential to be a club hit, but nothing more than just potential.
Far more impressive is the synthesiser opening to "Doin' Dirt" which has a couple of effects that I'm sure I've heard on an Abba record somewhere before. This is the perfect 70s disco song and has a wonderful retro feel to the whole song, as well as a great beat and tempo that once again had the track placed straight onto my running playlist. I can't help but what to move to the beat of this song and it's perhaps because the rest of the album is so middle of the road that this one seems so good.
"Beautiful Goodbye" gives the impression that the album has woken up, although possibly a little late to save it. It's got a happy, summery feel to the beat and although it's another largely mid-tempo pop track, it has something a little cheerier and jauntier in the beat that raises it above the rest of the album. It's got one of those beats I just can't help tap my foot along with and it's a pleasure to listen to. It's quite easily the longest song on the album, but it grooves along so nicely that it never seems to outstay its welcome.
The standard version of the album ends with a version of their huge hit "Moves Like Jagger", which was also included on later repackaged versions of their previous "Hands All Over" album. Its inclusion here after the success of the single is clearly here to drive sales, but it's such a good song that I can forgive the marketing. It's a wonderfully bouncy, poppy upbeat little song that always makes me either want to dance or start practising some Bokwa moves. Whether you're in a club, in the gym or simply running down the road with the music on, this is a song guaranteed to make your feet move and put a smile on your face.
Sadly, it seems that for the most part Maroon 5 have done the same thing they did to me before - hooked me with a couple of decent tracks and then produced an album that can't deliver on the early promise. Admittedly, there seem to be more stand out tracks here than on previous albums, particularly towards the end of the album, but they aren't enough to save the album from mediocrity. Once again, as with every Maroon 5 album, I end up being disappointed as there are some great songs here that suggest that can be really good when they put their mind to it, but they don't seem to be able to concentrate long enough to produce a great album.
For fans who know what to expect, yet like the band regardless, this is more of the same and if you've ever liked a Maroon 5 album, you'll like this one. For the non-fan, there's really not enough here to change your opinion and you're better off just downloading a few tracks here and there and sticking to the highlights. For the patchy quality of the album, the cheapest prices of £5.97 for a new copy from Amazon or £3.50 including postage on eBay are a bit too much to be paying for so little.