The title of Maroon 5's latest album, “Overexposed”, is prophetic in ways and a truthful assessment of the band. Frequenting radio waves through the fistful of hits “Overexposed” has generated, coupled with lead vocalist Adam Levine's constant need for attention, Maroon 5 can be summed up using the title itself. Their 5th album in 10 years, capitalising on the fame of “Moves like Jagger” may have indeed been a smart move, but the album really isn't a reflection of serious work.
The fact that Adam Levine is a gifted vocalist backed by a talented bunch of musicians, is not debatable. He is easily one of the top vocalists of his generation and Maroon 5 is easily one of the best bands of this decade. However, having said that, if their latest album is anything to go by, Maroon 5 is suffering from a serious identity crisis. As exciting as the genre-defying sounds they have become famous for are, applying the same formula for the entire album cannot be the smartest of steps. With reggae-infused tracks, RnB versions and even the occasional pop-rock tossed in, “Overexposed” becomes an over the top exposure to all genres that are known to generate downloads on the iTunes store.
But you can see the marketing gimmick behind that. Album sales are slowly being overtaken by song sales and of course, Maroon 5, like any other consortium of savvy businessmen, would like to take advantage of the market trend. However, it is hard to imagine stalwarts like, say Mick Jagger, turning towards a little hip-hop only to sell. Identity is key and Maroon 5 forget that and in the process taint their credibility. In the rush to sell tracks as opposed to the whole album, “Overexposed” sounds more like a Billboards collection than a solid album with a dominating or at least recurring theme. The transition from “Love Somebody” to “Tickets” to “Lady Killer” and finally to “One More Night”, is confusing.
To top it off, the album is quite boring. There is absolutely no originality in it, bar a few exceptions. The entire LP seems rushed from the start, with Adam crooning lyrics that seem like an assortment of frantically jotted notes on numerous fast-food chain paper napkins.
However, it is still Maroon 5 and not all the talent is wasted. Wiz Khalifa adds a new dimension to the immensely catchy single 'Payphone', while “Love Somebody” and “One More Night” are classic Maroon 5. The band manages to shrug the Coldplay like nature long enough to rival The Script with their single “The Man Who Never Lied”. Needless to say, Adam Levine's further attempts at braggadocio on tracks like “Tickets” fails, but at least he redeems himself. Singularly, the tracks can be seen as winning formula but collectively, as an album, the suggestion would be to pass this one on.