V: A Track-by-Track Review of Maroon 5’s Newest Release

Maroon 5's new album,

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Maroon 5’s new album, “V”.

Maroon 5 is a band whose music I have been familiar with since their first album, Songs About Jane. Their progression into the enormously well-respected pop band that they are today is certainly something to appreciate. Someone who knows my music taste particularly well would probably be surprised to see me reviewing Maroon 5 as opposed to one of the millions of obscure progressive metal bands whose music I am constantly shoving down people’s throats, but for the sake of choosing something that appeals to a wider audience, I have decided to make my debut article to the Eagle Eye a track-by-track review of Maroon 5’s hard-hitting new release, entitled V.

While this album started out strong for me, there is no doubt in my mind that as it progressed, the quality of each song slowly began to decline as one began to bleed into the other. Also being a fan since their very first album, it is still difficult for me to fully appreciate the mainstream nature of their new sound. Nonetheless, I have dedicated myself to writing a non-biased review of what I still see as an extremely well produced album that has many highlights among the array of lackluster filler tracks that are mixed in.

1. Maps– This song is the ideal album opener, showcasing Adam Levine’s unbelievable vocal range right from the beginning, accompanied very nicely by a soothing clean guitar riff that carries throughout the rest of the song. The buildup into the chorus is executed beautifully, and the chorus itself is one of the catchiest on the album. However, being the nitpicky person that I am, I can’t help but notice that lead guitarist Valentine’s riff in the chorus serves merely to muddy the mix and take away from the simplicity of the otherwise perfect section. The a cappella bridge section is what really did it for me, allowing me to label this song as one of my favorites on the album. This song easily receives a 9.5 / 10.

2. Animals– The album doesn’t slow down here – Maps is followed by what is clearly another hit song, Animals. I can confidently say that this is the catchiest song on the album, and, again, Adam’s vocals do not cease to impress. Alternating from low vocal melodies in the verses to ear-piercingly high melodies in the choruses, Adam truly shows off the diversity of his voice in this song more so than any others. Another aspect of the song that I appreciated was the clear contrast between the calm, quiet verses and the powerful, hard-hitting choruses, which, to me, just served to make the song more engaging as a whole. I’m giving this song a 9.5/10 as well, but –trust me – this amazing opening streak of songs doesn’t last for much longer.

3. It Was Always You– This song is clearly very different from the previous two, drawing you in with a unique, 80s sounding electronic riff, complemented by Adam’s alluring vocals. Of all three songs so far, this song very clearly has the most anticlimactic and least powerful chorus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t still very catchy. Essentially, this song marks the gradual decline in the quality of the album from this point on, with a couple of exceptions here and there. I have to give this song some credit though for its incorporation of some really cool, distinctive effects that maintained my attention throughout. Because of that, I’m going to give this song a solid 8/10.

4. Unkiss Me– For some reason, I really appreciated the unique combination of notes that persisted throughout this song (or, for all the music theory nerds out there, the I ii vi V chord progression). I always feel that this song’s chorus delivered to a much greater extent than that of its preceding track. However, I just found the song as a whole to be very cheesy; the lines “Unkiss me, untouch me, untake this heart,” being somewhat difficult for me to take seriously. I think that simply the feeling I got from this song – the sense that it was just another overly emotional song crying over a lost relationship – detracted enough from the parts that I enjoyed for me to give it a generous 7.5 / 10.

5. Sugar– This song is one of the exceptions to my theory that the album gets worse as it progresses, as it clearly brings a level of energy and excitement that the prior two songs lacked. Overall, the song has a very electrifying feel to it, not to mention the chorus is extremely catchy. Not to be repetitive, but Adam’s vocals are higher than ever in this song, truly demonstrating just how high his voice can really go. I do not have much to complain about with this song, so I will settle for a 9/10 rating.

6. Leaving California– This is where the album starts to make it hard for me to maintain interest, as I can already tell that this song is going to be boring from the start. This song is merely a ballad written to fill space; nothing is inherently good or bad about it, it’s just generic and boring. Because of this, I feel like I can’t give it anything higher than a 5/10.

7. In Your Pocket– This track is noticeably better than the previous one, but not by any substantial degree. Melodically, the vocals fail to stand out much with the exception of the one catchy repeated line “Show me that phone in your pocket.” Instrumentally, there is not much to comment on. Regardless, it’s an energetic song, and a generic song with energy is much better than an entirely generic song all around. By this logic, I’m compelled to give this song a generous 6/10.

8. New Love– At this point, all of the songs on the album really begin to bleed into one another, and it is actually very difficult for me to critique this song at all because it is honestly just another really generic filler track. Hence, this song gets a 5/10.

9. Coming Back For You– I swear, at this point I was ready to give up on this album. I really was. I tried really hard to find anything that I particularly liked about this song or anything that stood out to me, but aside from a funky sounding drum transition around the 2 minute and 30 second mark, I was essentially unsuccessful. I also found the lyrics in this song to be pretty overbearingly repetitive and generic, leading me to settle for a 4.5/10 for this song.

10. Feelings– Remember when I said I was ready to give up on this album? Well, this song is entirely the reason why I didn’t. Feelings really took me by surprise, generating a really groovy feel that I failed to experience with any of the other songs. Everything from the distinct synth melodies to the funky basslines to the syncopated drumbeats just really caught my attention after a seemingly endless streak of generic pop songs. I even loved how the chorus chords fluctuated from major to minor throughout – everything they possibly could have done to keep me captivated for the entire song, they did.  I loved this song’s energy and catchiness and overall fullness so much that I would feel badly about giving it anything other than a 10/10.

11. My Heart is Open– It disappoints me so much to say that this song was definitely the worst on the album, and the fact that they chose this as the concluding song just makes it so much worse. This song is a bland, boring ballad that fails to deliver anything worth noting. Aside from a few a pleasant harmonies, Gwen Stefani’s vocals don’t add much to the track, and lyrically, this song is pretty clearly weaker than the others (if that’s even possible). There are a lot of filler “yes[s]” and “yeah[s]” throughout and not much lyrical substance as a whole. This track just left a bad taste in my mouth after listening to what really wasn’t a bad album simply because I was just expecting more. Unfortunately, I’m obligated to give this song the worst rating of a 4/10.

​As an overall rating for this album, I’m going to give it a 7/10, and considering that Maroon 5 has really regressed over the years into just another mainstream pop rock band, this is a better rating than I initially would have imagined giving. I wouldn’t rate this any higher simply because lyrically, almost none of the songs really stood out to me, and personally, I prefer the band’s less electronic, more raw sound that they executed so well in older albums. On the other hand, I wouldn’t rate it any lower because for me to be able to say that I genuinely enjoyed at least 5 songs on this album is more than I ever would have expected, and acknowledging that no album can consist entirely of hit songs, I’d say that 5 really enjoyable songs is more than average for most albums these days. So, before I take up any more of your time, I’d like to say that it has been my pleasure writing this review and I massively appreciate it if anyone has actually read this entire review through to the end. I highly recommend giving this album a listen – it thoroughly surprised me and it should surprise you too.