Maroon 5
V


1.5
very poor

Review

by Ben Kupiszewski USER (2 Reviews)
September 4th, 2014 | 59 replies


Release Date: 09/02/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Adam Levine cashes i—I mean consolidates on his commercially successful solo debut with his sophomore effort.

Pulling no punches, The Voice was the worst thing to ever happen to Maroon 5. Sure, frontman Adam Levine’s gig as judge brought the band more exposure, and “Moves Like Jagger” catapulted the already well-known group into the starlight reserved only for mainstream pop’s hottest acts.

But the glow of success proved to be a garish light indeed. Following “Jagger,” Maroon 5’s fourth LP was clearly the weakest entry in the band’s discography. Overproduced and overwrought, Overexposed signaled the good days were, well, over. It was a collection of songs about Adam, and on V, let’s just say the cult of personality is still very much in tow.

V plays immediately as if it’s the consolidated follow up to Levine’s solo debut. The slick beats and synths are prominent; the rest of the group is not. Even though lead single “Maps” has James Valentine’s groovy guitar in the subdued verses, it’s immediately drowned out by the wash of mainstream pop’s favorite electronic bells and whistles by the time Levine’s falsetto croons “map that leads to you!” “Animals” is worse and features the dooshy repetitive background vocals of “hey” found on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and Tyga’s “Rack City” three years prior. “It Was Always You” has a dubstep beat. “My Heart is Open” boasts the guest vocals of Gwen Stefani. So, it’s no surprise that most of V borrows from hit music's grab-bag of goodies and comes off as an ill-advised experiment breeding Bruno Mars’ terrible imitation of the 80s with Justin Timberlake’s new age pop sensibilities.

What distinguishes V from Overexposed is that Levine’s vocals are the most uninspired they have ever been. He’s always had such a compelling pair of pipes with his high register, but his voice often bleeds into the cacophony of synth and beats and saps any emotion from it. Each track is blandly pleasant like elevator music before fading into the next forgettable offering. This is especially prevalent on numbers like “Feelings,” “Shoot Me” and on the dull ballads “Unkiss Me” and “Leaving California,” which makes you marvel at how this is basically the same band that produced such cuts as “She Will Be Loved” and “Sunday Morning” almost 15 years ago. Therefore, V is more vapid and insipid than its predecessor which at least had the anguish of the jaded lover in “Payphone” and the raunchy swagger of “One More Night” before “Daylight” and “Love Somebody” revealed the lackluster tedium to follow two years later.

Perhaps what’s most unbearable is that V's best moments are not the mildly interesting tunes and hooks on “Maps,” “In Your Pocket” and “Coming Back For You.” Even “Sugar,” which comes the closest to vintage Maroon 5, is agonizingly lacking compared to what’s on V’s deluxe edition. Rather, Levine and company soulfully cover the 90’s alternative rock classic “Sex and Candy” and really make it their own. Marcy Playground’s original is better but not by much. It’s still the best thing they’ve done in years. And Levine’s “Lost Stars” is not too shabby for the featured song on the soundtrack of the rom-com Begin Again, which marks Levine’s film debut. However, it’s still too much to trudge through the sonic quagmire of V to get to these riches. Their very tantalizing existence makes you shake your fist and exclaim, “You bastards!” And you still had to pay a little extra to hear them.

Ironically, we have at least the angst of “Harder to Breathe” coupled with the pop-rock bliss of “This Love,” “Misery” and the criminally underrated “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” to console us, the latter of which was snuffed out just as it was gaining steam on the radio by “Moves Like Jagger.” It still doesn’t change the fact Overexposed put Maroon 5 in the grave for Levine to just clamber over its corpse on his bid to stardom. V just serves as the sneering epitaph to desecrate the honorable dead.

Recommended tracks:
"Sugar"
"Sex and Candy"
"Lost Stars"


user ratings (50)
Chart.
1.6
very poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
ScuroFantasma
September 4th 2014


1854 Comments


Superb review, very well written and the flow is great, POS'D HARD. That summary is sweet too.

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Pangea
September 4th 2014


16 Comments


Band used to have great singles. Great review. Pos'd

JohnnyOnTheSpot
September 4th 2014


800 Comments


Sweet review man. Pos

that closing bit is great too. this actually might be the best 'first review' I've seen in a long time. good job

Digging: Hammock - The Sleepover Series, Volume 2

Sabrutin
September 4th 2014


875 Comments


Pos'd.

I used to like this band, useless to say that I was expecting something better (who am I kidding, though?). Band is dead.

Digging: Aspid - Extravasation

unaMUSEd
September 4th 2014


1074 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

"But the glow of success proved to be a garish light indeed. Following “Jagger,” Maroon 5’s fourth EP was clearly the weakest entry in the band’s discography."

You mean LP, not EP. Good review, pos'd.

Digging: Bring Me the Horizon - Sempiternal

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 4th 2014


7294 Comments


It feels like Darth Maul designed that album cover

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

Kupasexy15
September 4th 2014


15 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks guys. The rest will probably suck. I appreciate criticism

Kupasexy15
September 4th 2014


15 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I mean the good kind of constructive criticism.

Kupasexy15
September 4th 2014


15 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"You mean LP, not EP. Good review, pos'd."

Fixed!

ILJ
September 4th 2014


6670 Comments


"it’s immediately drowned out by the wash of mainstream pop’s favorite electronic bells and whistles by the time Levine’s falsetto croons “map that leads to you!”"

omg that song is Maroon 5? yikes, pretty terrible. i always disliked the band but that song is pretty atrocious.

jefflebowski
September 4th 2014


8243 Comments


'Overproduced and overwrought, Overexposed signaled the good days were, well, over'

maroon 5 had good days?

Digging: Shellac - Dude Incredible

zakalwe
September 4th 2014


8141 Comments


Yeah, the halcyon days, you know, when they didn't exist.

Totengott
September 4th 2014


869 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Shit band, enough said.

Great review though, have a pos.

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JohnnyOnTheSpot
September 4th 2014


800 Comments


congrats on the feature, definitely deserved it. not too shabby considering it's your first

ZackSh33
September 4th 2014


299 Comments


Pos'd

It's too bad these guys decided to suck now

TheSupernatural
September 4th 2014


1184 Comments


Songs About Jane was great and their second album wasn't half bad. Then it became the Adam Levine band

Digging: xSPONGEXCOREx - How Tough Are Yah?

jefflebowski
September 4th 2014


8243 Comments


songs about jane was a competently performed but stupefyingly bland collection of pop-rock but i guess it was their high point

Shiranui
September 4th 2014


102 Comments


Album is a total rip-off.
Would be intrigued about another version of My Heart Is Open, though.
With Stefani on main vocals.

Sabrutin
September 4th 2014


875 Comments


"songs about jane was a competently performed but stupefyingly bland collection of pop-rock"

Stupefyingly bland? Not for me, at least.

Tunaboy45
September 4th 2014


2333 Comments


...this band
Pos.

Digging: Pink Floyd - Animals



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