Maroon 5 are an odd kind of band, and Overexposed sees them in an even odder kind of position, following up an album that initially flopped, only to be saved by the kind of single that seems to take over the world.
There’s no doubting that Hands All Over had seemed to be the sign of a band for whom the public had lost their taste. Adam Levine‘s looks and love life were keeping them in the media, but they lacked the credibility to be the kind of band they started out trying to be and the chart-busting novelty of the band they turned into.
But then Moves Like Jagger came along, written after the album’s release and tacked on to a re-release after it had got to number one in the USA and number two over here (staying there for seven weeks without getting to the top, remarkably). Two things arose from its success that have influenced Overexposed; the first being that it was the poppiest song they’ve ever done, the second being that they got an outside writer in to help give them a hit. And it worked.
So this time, they’ve back with their poppiest album yet and a slew of outside writers and producers, and while you couldn’t say that there was another Moves Like Jagger on here, you can see it faring better than its predecessor without needing a hit parachuted in. This time, they did that before releasing the album, with Wiz Khalifa collaboration Payphone not quite matching Jagger’s success but still doing pretty darned well, partly thanks to endorsement from The Voice on both sides of the Atlantic (Levine is a judge in the US).
Opener One More Night has just come out as another single and you can see that having the potential to be a success, but the best track here is Lucky Strike, which has some of that trademark Ryan Tedder magic sprinkled on it as co-writer and producer. The Man Who Never Lied and Fortune Teller are also pretty good, while Ladykiller sees Levine seemingly having an issue with a lady trying to steal his lady. Well it is the 21st Century, I guess…
However, while you can hear their attempts to replicate the success of Jagger, there’s not many tracks on here that you could see achieving it. Instead, there’s lots of songs that sound quite samey, which has always been Maroon 5′s problem. Levine’s falsetto is a powerful weapon, but not so much when it’s used as frequently as it is here. But, saying that, Overexposed still has that funky indie groove that they do so uniquely well, and they haven’t worn out their welcome yet.