Maroon 5 started off their career as a Pop/Rock/Funk band back in the very early 2000s and brought us the masterpiece debut album ‘Songs About Jane’. 15 year later the band is still going strong with the newest album called ‘Red Pill Blues’. The resemblance between these two albums is relatively zero. The Rock/Funk part of the band is non-existent and all you have is glorified POP!
Don’t get me wrong, there is some pop music I like. However, there is something about pop music that irritates me and that is most songs on pop radio seem to think the actually have to be “featuring” a hip-hop artist or at least another artist. Singers and bands today don’t seem to be able to do a song that is strictly their own.
Maroon 5 now believes in that theory whole-heartedly. As a result, they have six songs, that is right 6!!!, on their new album that feature another artist. They are as follows:
- “What Lovers Do (Feat. SZA)
- “Help Me Out (duet with Julia Michaels)”
- “Who I Am (Feat. Lunchmoney Lewis)”
- “Whiskey (Feat. A$AP Rocky)”
- ‘Don’t Wanna Know (Feat. Kendrick Lamar – yeah for like 10 seconds)”
- “Cold (Feat. Future)”
Now, here is the funny thing, as much as this drives me crazy, some of these songs are the better songs on the album such as “Cold”, “Don’t Wanna Know”, “What Lovers Do” and “Whiskey”. If you were to strip out the artist they are featuring, these songs would stand out great on their own which makes me wonder why add the artist in the first place. Why pay someone $100k for 10 seconds of air time when it is totally unnecessary? Did they feel they wouldn’t get airplay? They are Maroon 5, they would get airplay!!
Before we get to the rest of the album, I want to talk about a couple other items. First, the album cover. The album cover is a picture of the band with Snapchat filters…REALLY!! I think Maroon 5 has jumped the shark here with album covers. This is one of the worst I have seen this year. Second, the band. I think there are 6 members in the band as pictured. How does the drummer feel about this album. The band has a drummer, Matt Flynn, yet every song on here seems to feature drum machines. Also, how does James Valentine, the lead guitarist, feel about an album that rarely if ever has an actual guitar sound on here. ‘Songs About Jane’ highlighted James quite a bit, but with each album he had fewer and fewer shining moments. This album seems to be one electronica, synthesizer made record. Okay, enough ranting.
Let’s talk about the rest of the album. For the remaining 9 songs that are strictly Maroon 5, there are actually three songs I found to be outstanding. The first one is “Wait”. It is actually a very catchy little pop song. It highlights Adam’s ability to really hit that falsetto (okay all of his songs do). I will admit, Adam is one of the best pop singers out there now and has been since the beginning. There is no denying his talent.
Next up is my absolute favorite on the album and will be in my Top songs of 2017 countdown at the end of the year. That song is “Lips On You”. It is a slow driving, sexy damn song. Every woman will swoon when they hear it (and probably some guys too). Adam delivers a very sultry sounding vocal performance that makes the song standout and it will get stuck in your head. Play it for your loved one now and see what happens.
The last one that I really, really like is “Denim Jacket”. The song has an old school pop feel even a slight Motown feel with the background vocals on the chorus with some nice harmonizing (which is probably just layer on layer of Adam). It was a fun song about a girl that got away and he must have loved the denim jacket that she wore.
I also liked the song “Visions” and “Girls Like You”. I almost liked “Closure”, but the problem was the song was 3 minutes of singing and 8 minutes of repetitive music only. If you would strip off the 8 minutes of instrumental it would have made the cut. The rest of the songs were just so-so and I could do with or without.
The picture of the CD has 14 songs and is missing a song that was available on the Apple Music Streaming album. That had 15 tracks and the extra track was Plastic Rose which you could skip as well.
9 keepers out 15 songs – 60% (3 out 5 stars) On first listen, this album was awful. On repeated listens it kept getting better, but it was still not the best thing they have done. There are a few really outstanding songs, some really good songs, and some pure filler. Any true fan will like it and everyone else will not. It would probably help if Adam wasn’t on TV all the damn time and you had a little separation of him for awhile as I think that tends to weigh on people’s feeling of the band and the album as a result.