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The Times
  • The Farr Side: New Maroon 5 album is worth repeated listens

  • Ten years ago you could have found a pay phone on just about every corner, but only a handful of people would have known who Adam Levine was. Fast forward to today and things are little different. You’d be hard-pressed to find a payphone anywhere, but now just about everybody knows who Adam Levine is.

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  • Ten years ago you could have found a pay phone on just about every corner, but only a handful of people would have known who Adam Levine was.
    Fast forward to today and things are little different. You’d be hard-pressed to find a payphone anywhere, but now just about everybody knows who Adam Levine is.
    What a difference a decade makes. There is one place today you will find both a payphone and Levine. It’s called the Hot 100: Maroon 5’s latest single, “Payphone,” is No. 1.
    It’s the first single from the band’s fourth studio album, “Overexposed,” an album flying on the heels of last summer’s smash “Moves Like Jagger.” It’s almost as hot, but maybe not quite.
    Maroon 5 is difficult to label.?The band’s music fuses pop, rock, R&B and dance in way that separates them from their peers. Maybe that’s why we like them so much. They aren’t afraid to color outside the lines. The new album clearly has no lines.
    “Payphone” is a like a throwback to their own “Songs About Jane,” the album that started it all. It clearly showcases Levine’s upper-register vocal strengths much the way “She Will Be Loved” did. You can almost feel the desperation in his vocals as he delivers the lyrics — key reason he belongs in the swivel chair on “The Voice.” Wiz Khalifa’s rap track adds a new dimension to the band’s signature sound. But for me, it comes across like “Stereo Hearts” where Levine guested for Gym Class Heroes.
    Rock critics are going to be quick to say the band has given into the pop machinery controlling the airwaves, but I beg to differ. Sure, the album was produced by Max Martin, Benny Bianco and One Republic’s Ryan Tedder, but that can only mean good things. “Overexposed” is what happens when you mix rock glam with pop glitz. In other words, you’re going to move like Jagger all over again.
    If critics are right, it would because of “Doin’ Dirt” and “Ladykiller.” Both songs spew the techno-sound of a Duran Duran comeback, whereas “Day Light” and “Love Somebody” compare with today’s Coldplay, with Levine pulling off his best Chris Martin. Either comparison is win-win in my book.
    The album has a couple of misses, including “The Man Who Never Lied” and “Tickets,” but amid the fiery dance beats are a few shining moments sure to make the album worth repeated listens.
    Aside from “Payphone,” my favorite tracks are “Fortune Teller,” “Love Somebody” and “Beautiful Goodbye.” “Fortune Teller” should be the next single — it’s a perfect 10.
    If you really want a treat, spring for the Deluxe Edition for three extra tracks, including “Wipe Your Tears,” “Wasted Years” and an awesome bluesy interpretation of the Prince classic “Kiss” you’ll want to hear again and again.
    Page 2 of 2 - David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. Email him at farrboy@hotmail.com. You can also find The Farr Side on Facebook.
     

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