Maroon 5’s overexposure suits the band well

Jenna Wilson ('15)/ News/ Features Editor

Overexposed, Maroon 5’s newest and fourth LP, is for the masses. It is shiny pop perfection, wrapped up with a bow and created for the millions of fans who watched frontman Adam Levine spin around on reality television. With that in mind, one would expect the album to be a sell-out to mainstream pop fans in a place eons away from the band’s exceptional first album, Songs About Jane, which won three Grammy’s and the critics’ hearts. Overexposed is not Songs About Jane 2.0, and here, that’s a good thing.

Maroon 5’s talent lies in the band’s ability to have a cohesive sound and still create albums that are different. Overexposed may be full of pop, but the alt-rock guitars and drums that fans fell in love with on Songs About Jane are still there. Levine is still crooning about being unlucky in love. Overexposed isn’t a mainstream sell-out. It is a band’s evolution.

In Overexposed, PJ Morton takes the place of former bandmate Jesse Carmichael on the keyboard. With Matt Flynn on drums, Mickey Madden on bass, James Valentine on guitar and Levine’s distinctive vocals, Maroon 5 proves that they are going to do pop their own way. No overproduced choruses and auto-tune here. This is pop in its purest sense: a band playing actual instruments, producing toe-tapping, ear-grabbing tunes for everyone to enjoy.

The album cover for Overexposed sums up the music in one single, chaotic picture. It is bright and colorful pandemonium, depicting cartoon characters and a giant nose. It shouldn’t make sense, but it does; it captures your attention and holds it.

On the opener, “One More Night,” the beat pops up quickly and drops back down like a jack-in-the-box that can’t sit still. Listening to Overexposed is like being stuck in a carnival funhouse. Colors are flying, lights are flashing, things are spinning and changing and you aren’t sure what to expect from one moment to the next. It’s crazy, sure, but you don’t want out.

“Lucky Strike” is a lightning-paced disco jam that calls upon a time when dance floors lit up and people boogied the night away. This guitar-heavy, dance-floor-ready song is perfect for radio airwaves. “Love Somebody” is a bubble of colors, full of bright keyboards, happy guitars; it’s some ready-to-return-to-the-70’s disco era. Levine’s signature heartbreak is apparent, with lyrics like “but if I fall for you/I’ll never recover/if I fall for you/I’ll never be the same.”

Maroon 5 is successful in blending styles of music to create a sound that is completely singular. On Overexposed, the band bounces from reggae, to funk, to pop, to rock and back again.

The best song on the album, “Ladykiller,” is a full funk jam that relies on a simple guitar melody, a drum and not much else. Still, “Ladykiller,” propelled by the quality of Levine’s voice, is an off-beat, unique pick that will have fans reminiscing the band’s second album, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.

Overexposed may be a glossy pop album, but the combination of musical styling on the album provides a distinctive sound. Lyrically it doesn’t compare to its predecessors. The songs may not be deep, but they are catchy and get stuck in your head, making you tap your toes long after you have put away your headphones.