When Los Angeles pop-rockers Maroon 5 released the first single off of their new album, “Maps”, it caught everyone (including myself) off guard. Sure, they mentioned that they were working on some new music, but with the release of the film Begin Again (which stars lead singer Adam Levine) it wouldn’t have been surprising if they had pushed back the release of another album. However, they were smart and piggybacked off of the film’s success to gain a high amount of buzz and excitement for V.
The album starts off with their hit single “Maps” and quickly delves into a mass amount of love songs, which include second single “It Was Always You”, the infectious dance-pop “Feelings”, and the sappy-yet-utterly-beautiful ballad “My Heart Is Open” (featuring fellow The Voice coach Gwen Stefani). “Sugar”, “Shoot Love” (which will be discussed later), “Coming Back For You” and “New Love” round out a whopping seven of V‘s 14-song track list (AKA 300% more than what Maroon 5 usually puts out).
The band has been known to put out peppy (or sometimes gloomy) breakup songs. Because of recent relational events, it seems like they are straying away from that particular theme with only “Unkiss Me” (discussed below) and “Leaving California” as the only songs within that theme. However, they kept their funky, soulful, sexy characteristics we all know and love in their carnal third single “Animals”, the somewhat humorous “In Your Pocket” and their epitome of baby-making music cover of Marcy Playground‘s “Sex and Candy”. V ends with Levine’s single from the film Begin Again, “Lost Stars”.
I don’t know about you, but I kind of dig ‘moody and heartbroken’ Adam Levine more than ‘I’m so in love’ Adam Levine and “Unkiss Me” is the perfect example of the immense power a sad song can have on a listener. This melancholy, R&B-esque track about putting in unnecessary effort into a relationship that just isn’t going anywhere not only hits close to home for me, but perfectly embodies the universal feeling of being let down with lines like “you don’t have to love me if you don’t wanna” and “what’s the point of this?/we’re in pieces because you’re over us.”
Bonus track “Shoot Love” has a dangerously sexy little storyline (at least in my mind) going on. The frantic-yet-elegant instrumentation combined with lyrics that pretty much reveal that he will do anything for this woman give it a Bonnie & Clyde feel to it, especially in “got me chained to your touch/like a slave for your love” and “no matter the cost/I’m standing next to you.” There’s also an underlying theory that she’s extremely indecisive on the relationship itself and will push him away out of habit (“I see the fear that’s in your eyes/so go ahead pull the trigger.”)
Musically, V can easily be the continuation of 2012’s Overexposed. Lyrically, there is an obvious change in thematic material that was probably caused by Levine’s courtship and later marriage (*sobs*). There’s an obvious lean towards overtly sappy love songs that the band isn’t necessarily known for minus “She Will Be Loved”, and to be quite honest I’m not entirely sure how I’m supposed to feel about the change. I guess it was somewhat expected, but they could have eased into the transition instead of bombarding the listener with love songs.