196 of 255 people found the following review helpful
"Disappointing" would be putting it lightly,
This review is from: Overexposed (Audio CD)
A lot of critical things have been said about this album (see sampling below), but I think the most accurate and important one is this: "On much of the album, Maroon 5 barely sound like a band at all."
That's because Maroon 5 no longer really exists. They are no longer creating their own music. They recognized that all of the current hit music falls under categories like "disco-flavored dance-floor filler" or "dance-pop glitz," and they knew to sell songs they'd need to hire outside help. Who'd they hire? Look up names like Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, Shellback, and Benny Blanco--these people are the new "Maroon 5," and they are also Pink and Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson and Usher and Britney Spears and Taio Cruz and Adele and OneRepublic and Gym Class Heroes and Sean Paul and Avril Lavigne and Justin Bieber and Ke$ha and Flo Rida and Pitbull. I'm not making this up--it is a fact that almost all of the music we hear on the radio is created by the same few guys whose names you probably haven't heard.
I think it would be fair to say that the Billboard 100 has never been in such a sad, homogenous state, and I think it would also be fair to say that the release of this album confirms that modern hit music is vapid and soulless--it is little more than brand names selling catchy hooks created by anonymous dance-pop gurus.
Adam Levine himself admits that Overexposed "is definitely our poppiest album yet," and he admits that he has a "love/hate relationship with it." Maybe he'll get back to doing what he loves if we stop buying dance-pop glitz.
Other things that have been said about this album:
* "Every song sounds as if it was custom made to play behind the montage of someone's 'journey' in a TV talent show." (The Independent)
* "It seems more like a collaboration between Swedish hitmakers and AutoTune than between Levine and members of his band." (The Washington Post)
* "Even with various superstar producers on board, including Max Martin and Ryan Tedder, the album is stridently homogenous." (Boston Globe)
* "Overexposed is a hit-seeking missile that doesn't just slaughter Maroon 5's reputation for sincerity, it festoons its corpse with glitter." (The Washington Post)
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 18, 2012 7:06:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 18, 2012 7:06:21 AM PDT
You, sir, are a genius. Sincerely. You hit it right on the head.
Posted on Jul 18, 2012 12:24:16 PM PDT
C. Puckett says:
Take it easy on OneRepublic. The band IS Ryan Tedder this "master collaborator" you speak of. Otherwise spot on.
Posted on Jul 23, 2012 3:41:04 PM PDT
gum on shoe says:
to be disappointed about what you comment, at this point, is about 6 years overdue.
their evolution into (or trend towards) this new pop sound/categorization occurred long before this release, so i would assume before their collaboration with all those names you mention (btw, "alternative" artists evolving into pop is very common and not necessarily driven by their desire to sell, but that evokes another great debate). if they weren't already pop from their very origin, they clearly transcended into the pop category (w/ all that disco flavor/dance, eltectronic flavors you mention) with their 2nd release which had blatant and heavy influence from pop artists like Michael Jackson (the King of Pop). i was a huge fan of their "debut" album, songs about jane, and that still remains, imo, far and away their best album/music. their 2nd release was so disappointing that i no longer listen much to or care much about their music since. there have been a few catchy, less than original, songs, but that is usually fleeting; songs about jane is their only music that i would still listen to 10 years after first hearing it--yes, it has been ~10 years.
Posted on Jul 31, 2012 8:29:27 PM PDT
J.L., if you were a Maroon 5 fan, I respect that you might well feel disappointed. I cannot dispute that their musical production, and even their songwriting, are vastly different. What's more, I didn't buy the album...I didn't love it myself. But I have to say, reading your review, I was struck in the same way that so many 'intelligent' reviews strike me. You need to learn how to feel the music, man. How to feel joy. The first sign is that you quote other critics in your review. "Critics" got their name from the idea that they must find something to "criticize." They are listening to music in an intellectual way. I looked at the album because I heard "Payphone" on the radio and it made me feel happy. It's undeniably catchy.
I am a professional musician who has made a great deal of money as a songwriter. I can readily tell you that in a generation, "Payphone" will have long been forgotten. But it's a fun song. Pop music is fun. "Edge of Glory" makes you happy when you listen to it. So does "We Are Young" by (no pun intended) Fun, or "Fireworks" by Katy Perry, or "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne, or "Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson, or "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele. These people that you criticize create songs that serve a very vital function: tapping into a youthful desire to be happy. And with respect, you can't do it, else you wouldn't be criticizing it, and you don't get it, or you wouldn't write a review filled with intellectual commentary and devoid of emotional response to the music itself.
I'm not defending this music as great art. I'm not even defending this album as worth buying. I'm defending the genre you attack as feel-good music. And if you can't feel good, I should expect nothing different than the review you wrote.
Every generation has had Billboard artists who write "serious" compositions. Sting and Peter Gabriel are two from the '80s that leap easily to mind, and two whom I love. But the '80s also brought us "Walking On Sunshine," "Faith," and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." In the '90s, for every Pearl Jam "Jeremy," there was a "Tubthumping" by Chumbawumba. In the '70s, there were as many "Kung Fu Fighting" and "Brand New Key" type songs as there were "Dream On" or "Maggie May."
If you want to learn how to feel joy, man, you can't listen with your mind. Listen like a kid, who's still enthusiastic about living life, who understands and gets actually moved by a line like "So if by the time the bar closes / you feel like falling down / I'll carry you home / Tonight..." See if you can reconnect with what it's like to enjoy being alive.
And then tell me you don't smile listening to "Payphone," or any of the other songs I mentioned above.
And if I haven't sold you yet, J.L., think about it like this: clearly this review was not written by someone who's happy about music. You're not gonna find happiness by being unhappy about the state of the music. I promise you, you can find the happiness within the music. You just have to listen with your heart, not your head.
Best wishes, man, and much respect offered.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 9:08:41 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Nov 12, 2012 5:34:03 PM PST]
Posted on Aug 1, 2012 6:33:38 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 1, 2012 6:34:23 AM PDT]
Posted on Aug 1, 2012 6:33:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 7:53:45 AM PDT
Zwiggles makes some great points with awesome perspective. In addition, and to put it mildly - die hard fans get stuck in a successful band's musical past, and have difficulty accepting any type of change from the typical output of the past. Adam himself acknowledged blah-blah-blah. Accept it. Everyone (fan) wants to be this centralized, universal critic of an artist's musical output. That's not the way it works. More importantly - an artist is going to try new things - trendy or not - to survive and maintain a level of success to keep their $$~careers~$$ afloat and prosper. Especially Maroon 5, which exploded and started out with phenomenal success after they redirected themselves as a band, post Kara's Flowers. They hit paydirt very FAST! Otherwise they go bankrupt or remain at a barely "breaking even" financial level of success, where everyone on the production end (studio/promotional/concerts crews) gets paid, and then the artists go home with whatever profits are left over for themselves. Personally - I'm not a huge fan of Marron 5, but do like them. I own their second Cd-album. Being a 70s teen, and a diehard music collector (only music that interests me), and experiencing what is now called "Classic RocK" as part of our Top 40, mixed in with Pop; R&B-Soul, Country and DISCO (we got the whole spectrum!) ...it's not difficult to enjoy the Maroon 5, and have your head and ears turn in their direction when a song of theirs plays. Of course, back in the day - our "Dancy-Pop" was created brilliantly, in collaboration between the artists and a producer or two, and all this time later - many of those songs still enjoy a life on the airwaves. Did we dump Donna Summer because she evolved from Disco Queen to Rock Queen on her monumental "Bad Girls" Lp - NO! - the world embraced her. She successfully melded Disco & Rock together to stratospheric successes! Reverse the 'formula' for - and ditto the Bee Gees, who evolved from Iconic Pop Masters to Disco Kings. And believe me - the artists back in the day, mostly "stumbled" into their popularity and success - they never knew if their music would be hit bound...or remain in total obscurity forever.
There have always, from the 1960s forward (maybe even before then) been "production teams" who artists turn to for stylistic turns and bends in their musical careers - and many who were simply production team crreations (The Grass Roots/Shangri-Las come to mind). The only difference this music fan has noticed in the Dance-Pop (which seems to enjoy a renewed heyday every ten years, or so, for a spell) is that Dance Music in the 90s and the recent/current all sounds the same, no distinction. I mean, what a joke Ryan Tedder intentionally played on Kelly Clarkson & Beyonce a couple years ago by serving them both up with simultaneous hit singles, molded from the almost exact musical track-different lyrics. Shame on him, but - it's not the first time in Pop History this has occurred. Ryan seems to understand that his time as a popular, sought out songwriter-producer is limited - and he will get $~all he can~$ out of his "formulaic" Pop ditties, before his musical sound becomes a bore and outdated...it does wear thin all too soon. Maroon 5 seems to be the Pop band of the moment - not every track they release is going to melt all music fans' hearts and ears - enjoy them while they rock the radio and charts. Maroon 5 does a very good job of reinventing themselves on almost every new album - regardless of the musical paths they choose to follow.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:36:22 AM PDT
Glad to hear it, J.L. Surprised, based on your earlier words, but really glad. And P.S. I assumed you were a man. It never occurred to me until I started typing this that you might be a woman, and if you are, my apologies for calling you "man."
So now my distinction, if you'll allow me, is being moved versus feeling joy. I did not create a proper distinction above. If you can cite songs that make you feel joyous, then clearly my comments do not apply. So I'm curious about that. Again, no judgment either way--just a desire to perhaps enhance your life.
Let me know...thanks again!
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:49:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 9:54:22 AM PDT
Hugo, I agree with this as well--evolution of a group (even if it is a less-preferred evolution) is just part of the process, and doesn't mean the band has gone down a bad course, even if it is one I prefer less. Train is one of my favorite groups. I do not like their later albums--"Save Me San Francisco" and "California 37"--nearly as much as their earlier albums. In fact, I consider them almost a new group since "My Private Nation." However, when "Hey Soul Sister" comes on the radio, I leave it on--it makes me happy. Same with "Drive By." They've become a dance-pop group, and either that's the direction they wanted to take, or that's what they needed to do to survive, or there's some vast worldwide conspiracy and they were forced to make the change. But regardless, that's where they went, and listening with a pop ear instead of an alt-rock ear, it's not a failure--merely a clear reframing of the group's sound.
Sometimes artists PERCEIVE that changing with the times is what they need to do (witness Elton John with the unlistenable "Victim Of Love"), and they lose their mojo along the way. That is truly tragic. But when a band changes their direction and yet can still turn out infectious pop creations, I say if that's the way they chose to go, then I respect their decision, whether I agree with it or not.
Posted on Aug 17, 2012 12:46:41 PM PDT
Shane Myers says:
I have to say, Reading your's Hugo, and J.L. Post was really interesting and love the opinions you guys had to say. I've actually been a Maroon 5 Fan since "Songs About Jane" Because it had a huge emotional feeling to do based on how they set up the guitar chords. I can't think of the right word to describe how they play there songs but it was great, After there second album I can tell they were trying to experiment and liked a few songs here and there like "Not Falling Apart". But when I heard "Moves Like Jagger" from there 3rd I was really confused what was happening, which is to be expected but to agree it is kinda sad when situations like that happen. I understand that the music industry (like all Creative ones) and they always try to stay in that mix so they continue to sell. Live always change but the way I look at it is do not lose the reason they kicked off. Now With "Overexposed" I have major mix feelings on the message they used for each of there song but to Agree, "Payphone" Is very happy beat for having a sad message, which works in my opinion. But for me its not the best Adam could be doing. "The Sun" was the song I loved to listen a lot from their first album. It works and as you said, its most likely to be long forgotten as life keeps changing. I have only purchase Just "Payphone" and some of the remixes that are around. The rest of the album, to me, have not many emotional bounds. I will agree Zwiggles that about 5 or 6 have good happy feeling, but its not something i will listen to daily.
J.L. like the words you said about the review of the album and love the response about the whole thing.