Maroon 5 ‘Maps’ their way back to the Top 40

Maroon 5 lead singer and guitarist Adam Levine performing in Chicago. (Official Facebook Photo)

Maroon 5 lead singer and guitarist Adam Levine performing in Chicago. (Official Facebook Photo)

Paola Garcia

Maroon 5 is finally back, and maybe a little too soon since the product is an unexceptional barely passable studio production. The quintet captured the catchy melodies of 2012 release “Overexposed” while succeeding in keeping some of the essence of forever soulful “Songs About Jane,” their new album titled “V,” pronounced “five,” promises to drill its choruses into your head for hours on end. With songs that could lead you to think the name of the album might as well be “Overexposed” part II, if we may suggest a better title, it would be: Overproduced.

In this exploratory material front man Adam Levine shares songwriting credits with big names such as OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, Swedish DJ Shellback and legend Sia Furler, whilst scoring hit-maker Benny Blanco as producer for the tracks “Maps,” “Leaving California” and “My Heart is Open.” Therefore, it really is no shocker the product was an upbeat, catchy, electro-pop and emotionally disengaged album.

While Levine’s delivery skills never fail to impress, the triviality of lyrics and over-production in songs like “Animals,” “In Your Pocket” and “Feelings” leaves little room for the soulful sound that used to characterize Maroon 5 in the early 2000s. For being an album that is centered solely on the topic of love the emptiness of the lyrics is astonishing, relying only on falsettos and catchy pronunciations of two-syllable words.

Heavily bass based “Animals” with abusing his falsetto voice, weak tune and crude lyrics, is the maximum exponent of every aspect that went wrong in the post-production of this album. As stated by lead guitarist James Valentine “This song is about the in-desire, the animal magnetism inside of you” with lines that proclaim “Baby, I’m preying on you tonight, hunt you down eat you alive” and “Don’t deny the animal that comes alive when I’m inside you,” this piece is a poor attempt at a sexy second single. If “Doin’ Dirt” from “Overexposed” and “Hall of Fame” by The Script were thrown in a blender you would would have yourself this song as result.

Whilst returnee Jesse Carmichael on keyboards gives the album that funky twist it desperately needs, Ryan Tedder’s print is imminent in the songs “New Love” and “Maps,” adding a more mature sound and polished hooks. Reassembling tunes from their almost contemporaries OneRepublic and The Script. If we add the fact that award winning song-writer Benny Blanco (responsible hits like Katy Perry’s ”California Girls” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds” among many others) was behind its production, it really is no surprise “Maps” was chosen as the first single. Falling not too far from the sound Maroon 5 had in 2007 with “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” this track reassures their tuneful originality while still guaranteeing them a spot in the charts.

Although the majority of this album doesn’t precisely scream quality, is songs like “It Was Always You,” “New Love” and ballad “Unkiss Me” the ones that leave the audience with an insight of Maroon 5’s growth in sound and fulfill the desires of those who still hold on to the soul-sounding foundations of the band.

There’s no denying that “V” accomplishes to satisfy fans, but is clear that this release won’t be getting them any new supporters. Which should be the aim of a band that has been around for over 10 years and is expected to deliver and grow with every release. Chart-topping tunes may entitle longevity, but longevity doesn’t entitle quality.