Review Summary: Maroon 5 delivers another solid collection of songs about love, lust, and heartbreak.
Maroon 5 is a band that likely needs no introduction. Unless you’ve managed to avoid radio altogether for the last decade, you’ve probably heard This Love
, Won’t Go Home Without You
, or any of the other half-dozen hits from their last two albums at least once, if not dozens of times. They’ve managed to stand above most of their competition based on more than just catchiness, but in actual quality. Sure, each song they write is coated with hooks, hooks, and more hooks, but they’ve provided competent musicianship, quality songwriting, and in blending pop-rock with funk and R&B influences they’ve managed to create a fairly unique sound, especially for a mainstream pop artist.
Their newest effort, Hands All Over
, simply continues where they left off. Opener and first single Misery
should be more than pleasing to anyone who’s enjoyed a few tunes from the band in the past. The band play to their strengths, pump out a strong, catchy chorus with Adam Levine exclaiming his woes over a funky bassline, and it’s a fun, easily likeable track. Following that up is the bouncy Give a Little More
, which should enjoy a similar level of success as a single as well.
Even though the opening one-two punch is really as good as it gets, there isn’t really a lot of bad material on Maroon 5’s third album. The problem is there isn’t a lot of material that can stand up to the highlights of the band’s back catalogue either. This isn’t really too harmful to the album, but it rarely lifts it out of being more than just a pleasant listening experience. There’s still plenty of fun to be had, though, with the mid-tempo swing of I Can’t Lie
and the cliché but well-executed ballad Never Gonna Leave This Bed
. Also, the album provides a very interesting moment with its title track, which gives off a clear 80’s rock influence, certainly the doing of producer Mutt Lange. Just look at the Bon Jovi-inspired chant of “Put your hands all over me”. It’s unlike anything the band has done before, and it’s another album highlight.
Aside from that bit of experimentation, it’s just status quo for Maroon 5. The album has been produced to perfection, Adam’s falsetto is as strong as ever, there’s a decent amount of variety, and the lyrics are as sensual as ever, but there’s not much here the band hasn’t done before, and done better on Songs About Jane
and It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
. If you can get by that fact, there’s certainly some enjoyable material here. It also unfortunately has a few clunkers such as How
, which sounds like an inferior version of the recent hit Hey, Soul Sister
. There’s also the monotonous Just A Feeling
, and Out of Goodbyes
, the ill-advised country crossover with Lady Antebellum that closes the album.
In essence, if you enjoyed Maroon 5 before, Hands All Over
should provide some fun pop tracks that could very easily work their way into many playlists. If you didn’t, than this won’t change your mind, since it’s the same formula the band has already used before, it’s just not quite as interesting this time. Still, despite that fact, they’ll still get great singles out of this, so like it or not, Maroon 5 is here to stay for a while, and will have no problem dominating the airwaves. Let’s just hope that next time, they give a little more.
Give a Little More
I Can’t Lie
Hands All Over