“Songs About Jane” was a beautiful, thoughtful and memorable album for its unique sound and fun vocals. “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” Maroon 5’s sophomore album, was a successful refinement of the same foundations. Then “Hands All Over” debuted, and the band completely changed tactics and sound, pulling a Britney Spears and switching to nothing but dance-oriented club music.
Now, “Overexposed” continues on with this new sound by synthesizing singer Adam Levine’s voice on even more tracks, and turning a once original sound into mainstream pop music. Other than Levine’s distinctive voice (Auto-Tuned as it is), nothing remains of the band’s original music, which is more than just a shame.
Levine has a nice vocal range, but he attempts notes that are far to high for him to reach. In the chorus of “Ladykiller,” he sounds like he’s trying to pull a Justin Timberlake style of falsetto, and it comes out sounding a bit shaky. It also sounds half-baked, as if he isn’t committed to the note.
Despite the Auto-Tuned vocals, one song that is fun to listen to is “Payphone,” which features Wiz Khalifa. There’s something emotive and captivating about the song and the lyrics that shows a sliver of Maroon 5’s ability to connect to something bigger than a possible hit track. Wiz Khalifa’s bit is also fun and well-integrated into the song, but given that it’s one of the few songs where Maroon 5 actually lives up to the potential fans know they have, it’s almost a shame that there isn’t another version without him in it. His crass and uncaring perspective clashes with Levine’s more romantically-inclined one, and even though it’s a fun track, a version without him would be just as good, if not more gratifying.
That, and the new fad of tacking a popular rapper onto a song and hoping it becomes the next Billboard hit is growing pretty tiresome.
If you’re a fan of old Maroon 5 (as in, good Maroon 5), this album isn’t for you, so keep on browsing. If you don’t mind Auto-Tuned vocals and the type of soulless pop music dominating the airwaves right now, you’ll probably find something to appreciate on this album.