The chart hit Moves Like Jagger had changed the ball game for Maroon 5 and as a result, the band needed to prove their self-worth by releasing material that was accessible and catchy to many people out there. They went back to the studio and recorded this album under much media attention and speculation. Released in mid-2012, it did contain some chart hits and some interesting musical adventures nonetheless. Let’s take a listen to this effort and hear how it sounds. The colourful album cover is designed by LA artist Young & Sick, which is quite an interesting design as well.
One More Night begins with catchy harmonies and processed Reggae guitars. It’s a song that directly tackles relationship issues, and sounds catchy, Poppy and wonderful. No wonder it was a hit single, it sounds very much like something that Pop/Rock fans would enjoy. This whole piece sounds very different to much else out there, even for a mainstream hit at the time. Despite the lyrical matter which is about wanting to break up with a troublesome partner, this is a gorgeous tune and sounds really lively and excellent. It’s very much an EDM influenced musical piece but sounds fantastic nonetheless. Great tune.
Payphone – Edit begins with some processed and autotuned vocals, but it does sound quite good nonetheless. It is another song that covers relationship issues and like the one before, it is very Poppy and catchy. Regardless, this piece of music is very good, although fans of older music may be finding this difficult to hear with the excessive computer editing on these songs. All the same, this song is melodic, catchy and interesting listening from start to finish. Wiz Khalifa is featured here, and unlike many contemporary artists featured on songs, this actually sounds like it fits. Nice tune, and worth hearing if you like more contemporary music.
Daylight is a more traditional sounding song with some clean guitar parts and clear vocals. This whole thing sounds impressive, and when the chorus hits, the soaring vocals are really fantastic and wonderful to listen to. The lyrics are about being in love with a partner, and the whole thing sounds like Ed Sheeran was listening very closely to the music at hand. In any case, this album and these songs are surprisingly good to listen to. A passionate and wonderful listening experience, even with a ton of digital editing, it sounds very, very good. The harmonies are divine, a nice tune to enjoy, particularly when out and about in your car. Decent.
Lucky Strike begins with some loose guitar chords, quickly followed by a 4/4 drum beat and some more autotuned vocals and this does sound very Poppy. Once again, it’s quite good and sounds very textural. This is a positive and mainstream song that does fairly impressive regardless. The only flaw at this point is that it is very processed sounding, and one wonders how these guys would fare live. Nonetheless, a good song to listen to. Decent listening all the same with some good melodies. Short at only three minutes long.
The Man Who Never Lied begins with some ghostly stereo panned sounds and is quickly followed by a tune that covers more relationship issues. It is more of the same on this album, and although sounds consistent in its approach, it does sound artificial. Regardless, this is a Pop piece that does really well crafted and does demand listening. The second half has some muted electric guitar parts and has direct references about fighting with a lover in Hollywood Boulevard. Good but not as good as it could be.
Love Somebody begins with fast electronic textures, a basic beat and soul searching vocals that express emotional pain. This launches into a good song with piano about wanting to desperately love someone out there who cares about one as well. In any case, this is decent and just sounds like a consistent effort from a contemporary group. The autotuned vocals do wear out their welcome by this point, unfortunately, regardless of how good the music sounds. Singing lessons, not autotune, are required for good music. Regardless, this is appealing to the masses, even if it sounds computerised.
Ladykiller begins with some random guitar and bass guitar parts with more dark lyrics covering relationship issues. In any case, this song is minimal, digitised and interesting, but despite that, does not sound that good for a song on this album. A really weird guitar solo and a mixture of Electronic sounds are here, but asides from that, this is pretty meh. Not a hugely great song all the same.
Fortune Teller begins with EDM textures, piano and 4/4 beats. The lyrics are about denying oneself as a fortune teller or someone who can predict the future. Musically, this is unfortunately more of the same and it doesn’t sound that great. There are some loose guitar parts in the background, but aside from that, there is nothing special about this. The singing and lyricism on this song come across as whiny and is fairly forgettable in general. Fairly forgettable, once again, rather sadly.
Sad begins with some lone piano and sounds a lot better than what came before it. It is enjoyable and refreshing, despite the fact that this music is obviously following a formula. It is a really good song that has singing, once again, about relationship issues. It’s also about being terrified to one’s core about things in life, and being sad as a result with a lover. An improvement which is good anyway.
Tickets begins immediately with vocals and processed guitars. Shortly into it, it launches into quite a nice and groovy piece of catchy music that sounds really awesome. The song is more about Electronics than actual decent song structure at all but still is rewarding enough to be enjoyed. The amount of digital editing here is ridiculously insane. There are some honestly laughable female background vocal harmonies in the middle before this piece returns to conclude. Absurd, yet okay listening.
Doin’ Dirt begins with some catchy drumbeats and funky guitars, before launching straight into a pretty ordinary piece of music that falls flat. It’s obviously about sexual encounters but just doesn’t sound really good at all. It is a disappointing and rather pathetic song that is pure filler at this point on the recording. It’s barely listenable and pretty pathetic. Avoid it if you can, it’s not a good piece of music.
Beautiful Goodbye is the last song and the longest piece on this album. It begins with an Electronic drumbeat, followed by processed guitars and quite a nice (but autotuned) vocal. It is a definite improvement and although it is, once again, about relationship issues, it does sound really much more consistent and original compared to some of the other tracks on the album. A lovely listen and a good love song to hear, all the same, it does sound quite fresh. Good effort to conclude the album with. The harmonies and singing at the end are also decent.
This album is a mixed bag of music. There are some good songs, some okay songs and a couple of stinkers. Overall, this is far better than expected but still missing out on classic album status as it doesn’t musically innovate and sounds way too digitally mainstream to be anything truly great. Still, worth hearing if you want to hear it. Fans of Maroon 5 will be pleased to know that there are multiple reissues with extra tracks out there, so be sure to check them out if you are interested.
Good but not great.
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