Maroon 5: A love that has taken its toll on me

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Maroon 5: A love that has taken its toll on me

Maroon 5 is an American pop-rock band. I've finally put them under the microscope.

Maroon 5 is an American pop-rock band. I've finally put them under the microscope.

Internet

Maroon 5 is an American pop-rock band. I've finally put them under the microscope.

Internet

Internet

Maroon 5 is an American pop-rock band. I've finally put them under the microscope.

Tyson Edwards, Opinion Editor

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Certain mysteries will forever haunt human history: How did Amelia Earhart go missing? What happened to Roanoke? Where did Malaysia flight 370 go? While these questions may never be answered, another mystery has proven to be even more thought-provoking and unexplainable: How is Maroon 5 still popular?

For those unaware, Maroon 5 is a pop-rock band that has been writing music for more than two decades. If that name doesn’t ring any bells, you may know Maroon 5 by another title, “that one band with Adam Levine in it.” For years Maroon 5 has churned out hit after hit, and after contemplating their performance at the Super Bowl recently, I have no words left to say except that it’s time for them to throw in the towel.

Do not consider this a review of the band, their performance at the Super Bowl or even any particular album from their discography. This is a retrospective, an investigative look into why Maroon 5 needs to disband for the sake of humanity.

Maroon 5 started out in 1994 under the name Kara’s Flowers, and their 25 years of existence are obscenely obvious in their music today. Maroon 5 has become tasteless and out of touch. Certain bands will grow and develop with each release and develop a sound over time. Maroon 5 released their first proper album, Songs About Jane, in 2002, and while I didn’t think it was possible, their sound grew worse with each new release. When I would ask for opinions on the band, I was often greeted with the same response: “I like old Maroon 5, not new Maroon 5.”

While Songs About Jane didn’t break any new ground critically, it proved to be immensely popular with audiences. The singles found on the album showcased funky guitar riffs, solid, jazzy rhythms and impressive voice work by Levine. I like this album, and it seems to be often ranked as their best album by many others, thus making the following releases even more disappointing.

Then Something changed. I picture Levine’s eyes turn into dollar signs after seeing the radio successes Songs About Jane brought. They sold out. It’s hard to describe in words, but listen to songs like “Moves Like Jagger” or “Payphone” compared to a song like “This Love”. There is a certain hollowness and soullessness within the former examples that’s not found in the latter. The thing is, I still enjoy some of Maroon 5 songs from their second and third albums. They still retained at least a hint of the Songs About Jane sound. “Misery” being a prime example of a song, if it were stripped down, that could possibly fit well on Songs About Jane. However similar songs started becoming fewer and far between. Overall, there is a clear difference in quality between the second, third and fourth album from the first album.

I won’t beat around the bush; the band’s fifth and sixth albums, V and Red Pill Blues, are actually horrible. Awful. Not only does Levine manage to distort his voice in ways that destroys eardrums, the instrumentation also proves to be lackluster. The same pan flute kind of sound found all over pop radio hits like “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran or “Cheap Thrills” by Sia can be found on tracks like “Don’t Wanna Know”. They don’t make pop-rock anymore; it’s pure pop at this point. Each song is a vocal hook by Adam Levine followed by a pop instrumental reflective of whatever overused trends plagued the radio at the time.

This isn’t an unpopular opinion, and Maroon 5 seems to be somewhat aware of themselves considering the song selection they used at their Super Bowl performance. Two of the four songs sampled within their performance were from Songs About Jane, an album released 17 years ago. That’s half of their performance. Clearly someone involved knew that their first album was the most popular.

You might say, “so what? Just because a band makes bad music doesn’t mean they should quit.” While I agree with that, I also must bring up the other glaring reason why Maroon 5 needs to end. Adam Levine’s personality.

There is nothing wrong with being a showman, and as the lead singer there is already an expectation for him to stand out compared to the rest of the band. However, Maroon 5 almost seems like a project Adam Levine keeps alive for fame and money. A way to inflate his ego.

Levine can be found front and center in almost all of the band’s music videos for Maroon 5. I could barely find any with the other members of the band being focused on. Levine constantly plays up his attractiveness for the audience. His live performances often involve him disrobing as seen in the halftime show. I don’t think he is the best role model for aspiring musicians or performers not only because of his high view of himself, but by the way he puts money before music.

These fears are not baseless. Levine has already impacted young performers, acting as a judge for The Voice, a competition show for future stars. I don’t think he necessarily makes a bad teacher, but I can only wonder how the way he handles music reflects onto his students.

Maroon 5 may never go away. While Red Pill Blues was critically panned, Girls Like You was one of the biggest songs of 2018. The band will keep making music as long as they keep making money. I don’t wish bad tidings upon any of the band members; they clearly have talent and are good at what they do. Levine is probably a really nice guy behind the scenes. I just can’t help and look at the band’s history, where they’re going and how they act as signs that they should take a break.