Remember when Maroon 5 were actually quite good? It’s okay if you don’t; it’s been a while. The pop-rockers’ debut, ‘Songs About Jane’, came out in 2002 and marked the high point of their careers so far. Sadly, latest offering ‘Overexposed’ seems like it’s going to do nothing to change that.
After ‘Moves Like Jagger’ was such a run-away hit, Maroon 5 seem to have decided that’s the direction to go in – shiny, glittery dance tunes that aim to get stuck in people’s heads. And there’s no shortage of them on the album, which is packed full of dancefloor filler beats, weird synthesizers and very little substance.
It’s worth checking to see if Maroon 5 are actually still a band, because the music sounds closer to Cheryl Cole than the Matchbox 20 comparisons they used to garner. And that’s reflected in their choice of company as they chose to work with hit songmaker Max Martin instead of writing their own songs, as they previously did. Max Martin is responsible for hits by Britney and Katy Perry and it shows, although there’s sadly nothing even close to some of the guilty pleasures from Katy’s own ‘Teenage Dream.’
It’s a good guess that you’ll already have heard ‘Payphone’, which seems to have cobbled together all the aspects of a high charting single without quite making a cohesive song. Edgy swearing? Check. Weird rap in the middle of it? Check. 25 million hits on YouTube? Check, although there’s no good reason why. Lacking the energy of ‘Moves Like Jagger’ – sorry, boys, there’s nothing on this album to rival that – ‘Payphone’ sounds like a lazy attempt at a hit.
The imaginatively named ‘Sad’ is the closest Maroon 5 come to sincerity and the chorus is sadly cringe-worthy. “I’m so sad, sad, sad. So sad,” wails Levine ad infinitum, forgoing the falsetto for once. That aside, the songs are mostly interchangeable, simply swapping one over-produced beat for another.
The best that can be said about ‘Overexposed’ is that some of the tracks – such as ‘Daylight’, a track which relies heavily on ‘woah-ohs’ – aren’t bad. It’s listenable, at best. The songs are catchy enough and fun to have a bit of a bop around to, but they’ve essentially got a lot of sparkle and not much worth. Overexposed? To be honest, we’d prefer never to hear about them again.