Maroon 5 burst onto the music scene with the release of Songs About Jane in 2002. Their debut album contained hits like “Harder to Breathe,” “This Love,” and “She Will Be Loved.” The album was a pop record that also mixed some R&B into it. The band hit some highs and lows with their next two releases before finally getting back to mainstream success and popularity with the hit single “Moves Like Jagger” back in 2011. They further expanded upon that success with 2012’s Overexposed, which spawned Billboard Top 40 hits “Payphone,” “One More Night,” “Daylight,” and “Love Somebody.” The band is back today with their fifth studio album, V (pronounced “Five”).
V takes the electropop sound of Overexposed and pushes it even further. The album starts with its lead single, “Maps.” The song annoyed me at first; but the more I listened, the more it grew on me. It has a catchy chorus and definitely has the most singalong potential of any track on V. Adam Levine’s vocal performance is the highlight of the song and is one of the best on the album. “Animals” is far from anything great. It is just another pop song using the whole “have sex like animals” trope that’s been done before. It sets the stage for the rest of the album though for me: For the most part, V is a collection of very forgettable pop songs.
“Sugar,” “In Your Pocket,” and “New Love” are all bad, forgetful, or both. Really, none of the tracks from 5-10 stand apart from one another. “Sugar” especially is the type of song that is just crappy and annoying enough to get a lot of playing time on the radio. However, I do feel like there is a chance that it might grow on me the more I play this album. It’s one of those songs that you sing along with when it’s on in the car, but you don’t exactly like it.
One of the standouts from V is “It Was Always You.” The use of synthesizers and electronic drumbeats reminds me of “Love Somebody” from Overexposed, one of Maroon 5’s better song from recent years. “Unkiss Me” is one of the better songs on the album and I could see it getting a lot of airplay on the radio. It isn’t exactly a song that has the same kind of catchiness that makes “Maps” so much fun to sing along with, but nonetheless it is still an otherwise good track. The piano ballad and duet with Gwen Stefani, “My Heart is Open,” ends the regular edition on a pleasing note. The song is arguably the best song on the album as it was written by the wonderful Sia. Levine and Stefani’s voices blend together very well to create a pleasing listening experience.
Unfortunately, two of the album’s better songs are featured on the deluxe edition. “Sex and Candy” isn’t the kind of crappy pop song that you would expect from the name of it. The sound of “Sex and Candy” harkens back to the band’s debut album with its laid back R&B vibe. While the lyrics are a bit uninspired, the song just has a bluesy feel to it that makes it one of the album’s standout tracks. “Lost Stars” is one of the songs from the movie Levine acted in back in June, Begin Again. Like the album’s best songs, “My Heart is Open” and “Sex and Candy,” “Lost Stars” is stripped back, devoid of all the pop music elements that makes the rest of V not too enjoyable.
The biggest downfall of Maroon 5’s V is that it is just too much of a cookie cutter crappy pop album. The album’s full of tracks that are too similar. When a good song does play it is merely good, with a couple truly memorable tracks, while the bad songs can range from “bad” to “terrible.” V might please some fans of Maroon 5, especially those who really enjoyed Overexposed, and those that listen to bland pop music. However, if you were hoping for the band to go back to their pop-rock roots, expect to be disappointed.