Album Review | POP

Maroon 5, ‘V’

Pop music has experienced a few epochs since Adam Levine & Co. slinked onto the airwaves with “Harder to Breathe” in 2002. Maroon 5 has kept up, and “V,” executive produced by Hot 100 titan Max Martin, is full of today’s pop signifiers: larger-than-life drumbeats, star-spangled keyboards, hordes of people singing wordlessly, Levine pushing his upper range to its limits. While this cherry-picking has worked on the charts — evidenced by the heavy rotation given to opening track “Maps” — these elements don’t always play to Maroon 5’s strengths. The band is most satisfying when playing a louche 21st-century take on Hall & Oates; “Coming Back for You” and “Feelings” almost get there, with Levine doing a fine Kylie Minogue impression on the latter. But too often the trend-chasing sounds both tiring and tiresome; that weariness persists through the syrupy album-closing duet with Levine’s future “Voice” costar Gwen Stefani. It’s sonically spacious compared to the rest of the album, but seems tailor-made for promotion in the run-up to the show’s season premiere — then promptly forgotten. (Out Tuesday)


Essential “Coming Back for You”

Maura Johnston can be reached at
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