First Spin... Maroon 5's V
It’s been 12 years since Maroon 5 burst forth onto the scene with their debut album Songs About Jane. That record, an angry break-up album full of taut basslines, driving rhythms and incredibly catchy choruses, sold almost 10 million copies and set them on a path to huge mainstream success. Now best known for their monster hit ‘Moves Like Jagger’ (a song that has sold over 15 million copies), the band are back with their new album V (or ‘Five’ if you will), which you can preview on the right-hand side of the page.
Whereas their previous albums were largely written by singer Adam Levine with help from either guitarist James Valentine or keyboard player Jesse Carmichael, this time Levine is going it alone with the help of a series of big-name producers and writers, including Dr Luke, Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco.
So is it any good? Well we’ve reviewed every track for you, a first spin if you will…
You’ll all have heard this one (well if you haven’t it’s below for you), it’s the album’s most instantaneous hit and the one that sounds closest to the band’s beloved debut album Songs About Jane. With a crisp beat and a driving rhythm, it’s totally infectious and a great first single. OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco are on co-writing duties, proving, once again, that they have the keys to chorus city.
This sees frontman Adam Levine channelling his inner Prince full on. Built round a shimmering guitar and a thumping drum beat, this is a slinky, groovy tune, with slatherings of funk all over it. “I can smell your scent for miles” Levine croons at one point, maybe his lady friend had a particularly garlicky dinner…
‘It Was Always You’
A big-ass ballad, with twinkling keyboards and a chorus that brings to mind Jon Bon Jovi in her tenderer moments for the first minute, before bringing in this bizarrely Daft Punk esque keyboard electro throb. A groovy ballad, if such a thing exists.
If the last track was something of a ballad, then this is the real thing. A slow piano glide and lots of crooning from Levine, when they drop this live the venue will be a sea of mobile phones.
If you think of pop’s major songwriters as the Avengers, then this track unites Thor, Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk. We see this because it sees Levine calling in Dr Luke (he of most of Katy Perry’s hits fame), Henry Walter (the man who helped pen Miley Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball) and Mike Posner (he helped Justin Bieber’s ‘Boyfriend’). As you’d expect it’s catchy as you like, and made for daytime radio, the raunch and funk are toned right down this time, in favour of a driving melody. It’s stupidly catchy.
Another slow number, this time with Fun.’s Nate Ruess and Stargate on co-writing duties, which explains a huge amount. It has the same rolling drumbeat that soundtrack so many of Fun.’s biggest hits and the same rollicking chorus.
‘In Your Pocket’
Another rolling, almost Mumford & Sons esque drumbeat with a gentle lilting chorus and a doozy of a chorus.
Another ballad, powered by bombastic drum beat and a gliding chorus. Tender and sweet, with Ryan Tedder once again on co-writing duties.
‘Coming Back To You’
This is the track that sounds most like the poppy funk rock that made up the bulk of their last record Overexposed. Kicking in with 1980s style 808 drums and a disco-funk bassline, this builds into a shimmering pop song. A nod to the band’s early days.
The raunchiest cut on the album, with an electro groove that sounds like it was bootlegged from Studio 54 and a bouncy bassline. It all contains the wonderful couplet “You and me let’s go all night, going so high we f**k the sky, come with me now, f**k that guy”.
‘My Heart Is Open’
Gwen Stefani turns up to lend her vocals to this track, which is mostly just piano and her and Levine’s vocals. This is the sort of thing Elton John spent most of the 1990s putting his name to, just way more Californian.
Maroon 5’s new album V is out now and is available to buy in hmv stores now.