Maroon 5's fifth album hits! Titled V, or 5, marks the band's decade over career in music which has seen them transpire from punk-rock, to a more electronic pop band that seemed to have suffice to their own musical tastes. However, does V hold up as a standalone album well? Or does it suffer from the mistakes that were seemingly culminating towards?
Most of the keyword here is going to be potential, and sadly mediocrity. Because it serves as a baseline to how great the album was gearing up to be, and ended up falling flat when it was right up the corner.
People will disagree, but I stand by the fact that not only was Maps a terrible single, despite it's commercial success, that I feel was a song that Maroon 5 could have dealt with it better. Instead, the song was kept under boiling conditions and never really flourished, much like the album succeeding it. Others said that Maps had great guitar work, but the main scope of the true meaning for the track was pretty much layered throughout the album: lyrics.
To be fair, Maroon 5 are not the best lyricists in the world. Much to my belief, this album drastically falls short in all fairness, and just so replicates the shadow that it trailed behind of Overexposed. What went wrong? Pretty much everything.
Let's start with a very blatant one, and that is Adam Levine's vocals. Time and time again, he showed potential: in My Heart Is Open featuring Gwen Stefani, he showed composure and effort. Leaving California also showed signs despite his falsettos ringing in other tracks, but in the end, it showed a lackluster effort to even make it better. It Was Always You felt carefully constructed and the potential with the guitars and drums can be heard. But there was stingy punch to Levine's vocals that peaked but never really shone again in the album from there on out. Regarding the falsettos, let's face it: the album did not need any of it. They didn't apprehend the weakness of the album and let it soaked through, leaving a very disdain effort that tasted bad for the mouth and never really came to fruition.
The instrumentals were on course for a disaster from the get-go. Nothing worked, not even the bass and the drums that Maroon 5 were previously known for. The guitars on Maps probably, in hindsight determined the starting gears, but failing to switch to a higher one proved that Maroon 5's compass may have led them to a darker road to possibly being simply wiped off. Unkiss Me's synth was a drawback to the track itself, but the main problems were fully scoped onto it's lyrics for the track. In New Love, the drums fell flat, and while the guitars were just rambling behind in the background. They weren't even right there in the forefront, and that made Levine's vocals overpowering and that made the album feel as if they wanted the audience to gravitate towards Levine, which was definitely a bad sign. Feelings probably showed both sides of the coin: light, fun and energetic, but at the same time consisting of everything that was bad in which I have said above. All in all, Maroon 5 settled for mediocrity for the instrumentals.
Dare I say it: this album is the worse album Maroon 5 has put out to date. That may have come off a blistering train wreck from Overexposed, but I have to say, the lyrics on their predecessor record proved to be sufficient and decent. On this album, everything went off the rails very quickly. Simple prefix issues with Unkiss Me, 'show me that phone in your pocket' for In Your Pocket, very easy-going fillers for lyrics in pretty much everything on this album. That is just recipe for disaster.
I will say Gwen Stefani on the album proved to be one of the only things that this album would have welcomed more so than. Nothing was forced, her vocals a very good juxtaposition to Levine's. But for her, even she can't save a single album by herself.
Favourite Tracks: Animals
Least Favourite Tracks: Maps, Feelings, Coming Back For You, Unkiss Me
The best word to summarize everything is that this record is disappointing. Not only did the band not learn from Overexposed's mistakes, but to go unhinged felt as if the band clearly did not care for the record nor it's fans. Maps was a good example, but even critics have a split opinion on the single itself. While I understand people will love it, I cannot see it being decent. The album suffered heavily from steady mediocrity, which was unneeded, and definitely showed Maroon 5's transition from punk rock to electronic pop; the results are clear. Not worth recommending at all.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.