March 18, 2015 Maroon 5 – V (Album Review)
Originally formed in Los Angeles, California back in 1994 as Kara’s Flowers, Adam Levine (lead vocals/guitar), Jesse Carmichael (guitar/backing vocals), Mickey Madden (bass guitar), and Ryan Dusick (drums) would decide to change their name and direction in 2001. Since known as Maroon 5, their debut Songs About Jane in 2002, the band has become one of the most popular American Pop Rock acts around, releasing four consecutive platinum selling albums. Two decades after their original conception as the aforementioned Kara’s Flowers, on August 29, 2014, the band released their fifth full-length album entitled V. Selling over 160,000 copies in the first week of its release, the album was bound for success and debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200. Recorded in downtown Los Angeles, V quickly gained momentum and became the number one album in North America. With massive hits in recent years that include “Moves Like Jagger,” “This Love,” and “Misery” set the expectation for more hits on V, and the band did not disappoint.
Released on June 16, 2014, the first single off of V, “Maps,” demonstrated just how far the band has come, even since 2012’s Overexposed. The track quickly peaked at Number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was in the Top 20 in other countries around the world. This up-tempo Pop/Rock track is something that listeners will want to get their hands on, and it will certainly get them in the groove. A Dance/Pop song, the second single, “Animals,” hit Number 3 on the Hot 100 and stands strong with the band’s other tracks in a similar vain. The third track, “It was Always You,” has an Electronic/Pop vibe that will have the listener jamming with the windows down. Departing from their signature style, the synth elements are a nice touch along with lyrics that tells the story of two friends who become lovers. Taking on a power ballad style, “Unkiss Me” is a soft, subtle tune about a guy telling someone to stop playing games because he does not want to keep falling for her and getting hurt.
The latest single, “Sugar,” released in January of 2015, received positive feedback from critics for its catchy mixing of genres. Having an ’80s vibe that combines with Funk and Pop, the song puts the listener in a playful, sexy mood. The hot sun of the Golden State is where it is at on the next track, which is called “Leaving California.” On this track, the lyrics speak about a man fighting to stay with his love, despite her wanting to leave California, and is fraught with feelings of longing as the subject pleads with his girl to stay with him. Bringing on a much darker sound, “In My Pocket” has a mysterious quality that will pique the listener’s curiosity. There is an upbeat feeling, but the sober lyrics of mistrust and infidelity are the central emotion, creating an anticipatory anxiety.
“New Love” celebrates the persistence a man has in his pursuit of the woman he just cannot resist. The energy and sense of hope the song brings definitely carries through until the end. Taking a turn in the lyrical content, “Coming Back for You” projects a feeling of comfort between a man and a woman, even though they may be miles apart, because their love is strong. With a club-worthy sound,“Feelings” focuses on the sexual tension between two individuals. Wanting to take the woman home, he attempts to lure her with claims that he can satisfy her better than another guy. Which leads to the final track on V titled “My Heart is Open,” which features a duet with Gwen Stefani. Containing traditional Pop elements, here Levine sings about pleading for a woman’s heart and warning her that if she says “no” one last time, he will be gone. A complementary edition to the song, Stefani and Levine most recently performed it at the 57th Grammy Awards on February 8, 2015.
V is an album about love and relationships, a topic that is so difficult to grasp and so complicated to understand. This album is meaningful, deep, sincere, and can relate to any listener. With a flare and its different dynamics on every track, the album is musically well-rounded and is filled with various styles ranging from Electronic, to Dance, to Pop, and Alternative Rock. Following the success of V, Maroon 5 has recently embarked on a world tour which will include stops in the US and Europe. CrypticRock gives V 4 out of 5 stars.