Harder To Bear 

The album as a whole is lightweight, doesn’t offend the sensibilities, and does everything right to keep the songs radio-trendy.

Updated: September 6, 2014 12:05:52 am

Album: V
Artist: Maroon 5
Music: Interscope Records
Price: Rs 405/- (On Flipkart)
Rating: **1/2

By: Suyash Gabriel

American pop sensations Maroon 5 have embarked on a rather disappointing journey, filled with dumbed-down vocal hooks, club-friendly beats and overly-clean processing. Now, that isn’t always a bad thing. However, the songs on their latest album, V, are rather uninspiring and prosaic, and more often than not, try way too hard.

The album kicks off with Maps, a song which is likely to become a club anthem for the next year. It exemplifies the drastic change in sound that the band has adopted. The song has a fairly plastic texture, as opposed to the rawness that we heard in their first three albums, Songs about Jane and It Won’t be Soon Before Long, which had tracks featuring live drums, energetic guitar patches and juicy bass-lines. Maps is an electro-pop number with a rather easy vocal hook in the chorus, like pretty much every other song on the album, and employs a highly processed sound, with very commercial synths and beats. But it lacks the punch and catchiness of their more commercial hits like One More Night and Moves Like Jagger.

Animals, the next song on the album, employs vocal lines filled with “la la la’s” and “na na na’s”, which leaves you feeling choked and somewhat cheated. Similarly, Leaving California relies heavily on its vocal hooks and safe beats. This song doesn’t have merely one vocal hook —it has three. This ends up making it a belaboured track with an array of high-pitched, forgettable croons from frontman Adam Levine.

This formulaic sound is replicated throughout the 14-track album, especially in songs like New Love, Unkiss me and In your pocket. The lyrics are rather lazy, with repetitive themes and safe rhymes that failed to resonate after a while.

The album does, however, have a few exceptions. It Was Always You, Sex and Candy, Feelings and Sugar are tracks that take one back to the blend of funk and pop-rock that Maroon 5 was famed for during their initial releases like This Love and Makes me wonder. With its cheesy lyrics, Feelings, gets your body moving without trying too hard. On the other hand, Sex and Candy embodies their earlier ballad-oriented sound, best heard in tracks like Secret and Nothing Lasts Forever. With a steady, powerful groove and a flowing bassline which compliment Levine’s catchy vocals, this one stands out.

The album as a whole is lightweight, doesn’t offend the sensibilities, and does everything right to keep the songs radio-trendy. But while the sounds deployed are trend-chasing, they are both tiring and tiresome, and none of them have that touch that make a song stick with you.

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