Maroon 5 – [Album]

Saturday, 25 September 2010

When one thinks of bands currently producing consistently perfect pop music, it’s hard not to think of Maroon 5. After the band’s 2002 debut, Songs About Jane (which garnered multiple Grammy awards) and a successful, more dance-y follow-up (2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long), Maroon 5 returns with Hands All Over. On the Los Angeles band’s third disc, the choruses are broader and the sound more expansive – even if the lyrics are fairly generic.

What makes the songs On Hands All Over so compelling is their seeming simplicity. Most of them have a sense of structural precision – the verse/chorus format is almost always interrupted by a bridge at exactly the right moment – and a nearly single-minded dedication to one topic: relationships. Generally, lyrics fall into three categories: 1) “I love you,” 2) “I can’t stand you,” or 3) some form of unrequited passion; usually “I love you, but you love someone else.” This breakdown is not meant to simply chalk the music up to being formulaic, but rather to say that this is a band that understands and writes incredibly catchy, unfussy, bubbly pop.

Produced by Robert “Mutt” Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard), Hands All Over has a thick pop sheen, but Adam Levine’s voice lends itself well to this level of production. His vocals are strong enough to make the slickly produced “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” sound as good as the bonus track – a live version of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Musically, the band puts a bit of plodding piano into the mix on the closing track “No Curtain Call,” and adds some funky guitar into “Get Back In My Life.”

“Out of Goodbyes,” a soft crossover-country track with Lady Antebellum, feels a bit out of place on the album. If the song sounds like it could easily have belonged on Shania Twain’s Come On Over album (it bears a passing resemblance to songs like “I Won’t Leave You Lonely”), there’s a good reason for that – Lange both co-wrote and produced that album with then-wife Twain (they divorced earlier this year). Here “Out of Goodbyes” just doesn’t quite seem to hang with the rest of the songs, or, at least, not in the order in which they’re presented.

The album’s first single, “Misery,” is likely its strongest track, though the feel-good “I Can’t Lie” and “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” are also contenders. The title track, “Hands All Over,” sounds like it wants to be this album’s “Harder to Breathe,” but while that song offered lyrical specificity, “Hands All Over” (both the track and the album) speaks too often in generalities. But then again, perhaps that’s just what pop music is made of.



Maroon 5 – "Misery" – Hands All Over [Video]

Hands All Over
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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