The title of Maroon 5's latest record states the obvious and seems almost like an apology.
With "Overexposed," in stores today, the Los Angeles group delivers more of the same neon radio candy, a super polished mix of edgeless pop-rock and toothless R&B, for which the group has always been known. But the guys have done better before.
This time, they apply more gloss with help from a shipload of expensive producers, including Max Martin, Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco. "Overexposed" feels like a strategic move, given the inescapable smash "Moves Like Jagger" and lead singer Adam Levine's presence on NBC's hit talent show "The Voice."
But nothing on the album, the band's fourth, quite captures the fun of "Jagger," and Levine's nasally, monochromatic voice, which gives the band a little distinction, is heavily filtered throughout the high-shine productions. Though professionally crafted via paint-by-number neo-disco, the songs aren't particularly memorable.
Lyrically, Levine is mostly the lovesick guy whose luck with the ladies always seems to sour. Only now, he's bitter about it, dropping a few F-bombs in "Payphone," the forced pop-rock/rap hybrid with the pointless Wiz Khalifa. On "Daylight," Levine is the lover who, for some reason, has to creep away in the morning. "In the daylight/We'll be on our own/But tonight I need to hold you so close," he whines over a surging arrangement.
After spending most of the album going on about how clueless and selfish his woman is, Levine closes with "Sad," a stripped piano ballad where he belts his regret for being a jerk. "And I confess that I'm only holding on by a thin, thin thread," he sings. "I'm so sad."
If he didn't say it, you wouldn't necessarily know it from the total lack of emotion in the song.
The record has the feel of a cheap energy drink, a quick little jolt, then nothing. In an effort to cash in on being so overexposed, Maroon 5 could have spent a little more time reinvigorating its formula.