Adam Levine, Maroon 5 lose their edge
'Overexposed" is a tongue-in-cheek name for a new album by a band that owes its entire career to saturation. It's been key to how Maroon 5 became one of pop music's biggest acts when singles like "This Love" and "Sunday Morning" got lodged in heavy radio rotation back in 2004. "Overexposed" no doubt refers to the fact that frontman Adam Levine has arrived in the past year as a star in his own right as one of the judges on "The Voice," the television talent show. But the new album, the California group's fourth studio release in a decade, has another, less charitable distinction: It marks the first time Maroon 5 has completely receded into its songs' glossy production. In search of the alchemy the band nailed on "Moves Like Jagger," its monster hit from last year, Maroon 5 turns out a handful of pale imitators. Even with various superstar producers on board, including Max Martin and Ryan Tedder, the album is stridently homogenous. There's little – from Levine's banal vocals to nearly the same running time for every song — to distinguish the slick dance pop ("Doin' Dirt") from the earnest ballads ("Beautiful Goodbye"). "Sad" at least stands out for its austerity; it's just a piano and Levine singing relatively free of vocal effects. That's a good combo in pop music these days (just ask Adele about "Someone Like You"). And a whiff of reggae courses through the buoyant "One More Night," which finds Levine bewitched by someone he knows he shouldn't be with: "So I cross my heart and I hope to die/ That I'll only stay with you one more night/ And I know I said it a million times/ But I'll only stay with you one more night." (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL "One More Night"