Universal Records, Audio CD: Rs 295
American pop band Maroon 5’s new album Overexposed, released in late June this year, doesn’t in fact expose much. The band grabbed attention 10 years ago with debut album Songs About Jane; the album’s tracks included the now-famous ‘This Love’ and ‘She Will Be Loved’. Overexposed is their fourth studio album and is largely dance-pop and rock, with a handful of exceptions; there isn’t a new sound or some new aspect of the band’s evolution on display.
The first two singles from the album are ‘Payphone’ and ‘One More Night’. In the first, the payphone imagery briefly holds promise - as a metaphor for a failed relationship - but strays into generic, mournful territory far too soon; ‘One More Night’ has some groovy bass from Mickey Madden, but a cloying reggae beat and a shower of “ooh” vocals don’t do the song any favours.
The rest of the album is populated with 19 more songs, many of which are fleeting, unsubstantial musical ideas that don’t seem to be sustainable beyond three minutes. One such is ‘Ladykiller’, a complaint about a woman who ‘breaks your heart/the second you spend a night apart’. Similar forgettable lyrics and rhymes about love and heartache are scattered across the album. Bridges burn; feelings grow, rivers flow; it’s night, they’ve turned off the light. And so on.
A handful of songs briefly wander away from the dominant dance-pop sound. ‘Wasted Years’ has some Timberlake-style charm as a slick dance song, and ‘Sad’ is a piano-and-vocals ballad. ‘Kiss’ has some old-school blues charm, and a very agreeable walking bassline; vocalist Adam Levine’s voice has been produced to sound like a live show. The song is also seven minutes long, double as much as some of the others, and is refreshing in its break from the album’s almost formulaic sound. But it doesn’t carry the album through; as we now know from several unsuccessful fusion enterprises, the mere mashing together of two formats doesn’t equal good music.
Overexposed has been released two years after their previous album, which spawned the catchy Christina Aguilera-featured ‘Moves Like Jagger’. This album has tunes that are at times funky, sometimes mellow, but on the whole mostly forgettable.