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Adam Levine & co. embrace pop extravagance with aplomb.
Dave Hanratty, 31 Jul 2012
It’s easy to dismiss Maroon 5 as a vehicle for Adam Levine’s ego, but so what? Their presence over the last decade has brought with it moments of genuine intrigue. We’ve had creepy subtext (‘She Will Be Loved’), underrated pop gems that crib from grander works (‘Won’t Go Home Without You’) and effective stabs at world domination (‘Moves Like Jagger’). Overexposed sees the Los Angeles quintet (there are other members in the band, honest) pitch up with hit-makers Max Martin and Benny Blanco in their bid to go supernova.
Maroon 5 have always prided themselves on having a high-gloss finish, but there is some covert cynicism behind the Auto-Tune. Levine is in unusually spiky humour on lead single ‘Payphone’, whining that, “All those fairytales are full of shit” and, “One more fuckin’ love song I’ll be sick”, before the track segues, of course, directly into a love song. The high-pitched histrionics would sit comfortably alongside a YouTube montage of Finding Nemo, but ‘Payphone’ and the reggae-infused ‘One More Night’ are superbly dressed up with hook-laden choruses that burrow their way into your brain.
It isn’t all finished with such pop finesse. Several tracks feel like they’ve been rushed off a conveyor belt, while the likes of ‘Sad’ and ‘Beautiful Goodbye’ (“And now I’m kissing your tears goodnight”) feel shoehorned in purely to fill the ‘soppy ballad’ quota. There’s no ‘Moves Like Jagger’ here either – but the high camp one-two punch of ‘Tickets’ and ‘Doin’ Dirt’ offer definitive proof, were it needed, that Levine is at his best when he embraces the ostentatious and reaches for the stars.