Maroon 5's 'Overexposed': What the Critics are Saying

4:33 PM PST 06/26/2012 by Arati Patel

"Boring," "safe" and "desperate" are among the terms used to describe the Adam Levine-fronted band's fourth studio album, out June 26.

With chart-topper “Moves Like Jagger” still in heavy rotation on radio stations everywhere, California’s own Maroon 5 didn’t wait a minute before putting out new music, releasing their fourth album, Overexposed, today.

Featuring 12 tracks of soft ballads and sure-to-be-hits, the five-member group, which hasn’t exactly been a critic’s darling ever since their breakout album, Songs About Jane, return to a winning pop formula, at the same time proving that not much has changed.

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Indeed, the first single off the album, “Payphone,” featuring rapper Wiz Khalifa, has already reached number one for digital sales, the band’s best showing yet on the digital chart. But outside of singer Adam Levine’s signature vocal style, the sound of Overexposed seems to be received as a dramatic departure from Maroon 5’s 2002 debut, and in that sense, may not be what fans are expecting from this album. Some critics also note a hint of insincerity to the new music.

Says Allison Stewart of the Washington Post:Overexposed is a hit-seeking missile that doesn’t just slaughter Maroon 5’s reputation for sincerity, it festoons its corpse with glitter, hairspray and Hello Kitty Stickers.”

Entertainment Weekly, which graded the album a C+, said it “never quite finds a balance between rock grit and dance pop-glitz … Maroon 5 barely sounds like a band at all.”

Other critics mention an overall mediocrity, that the Maroon 5 who captured America’s attention has seemingly lost its purpose through “desperate to sell” tracks on the album. 

As for Levine, while he’s notably among the most recognized voices in popular music today, lyrically, he seems to have missed the mark on Overexposed, especially where Maroon 5’s trademark ballads are concerned.

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As Billboard’s Chris Payne writes: “Maroon 5 are barely the same band that first hit the radio waves with their debut single ‘Harder to Breathe’ a decade ago. The alternative-rock licks are a far cry from the direction the band has taken since hitting pop’s big leagues.”

Similarly, Mesfin Fekadu of the Huffington Post said Overexposed, “Has some highlights, but it’s mainly boring and safe, with the group taking a more pop approach and stepping away from their rock foundation. The result sounds like the boys are purposely playing to the Top 40-crowd and iTunes singles buyers.” Fekadu also adds, “The songs lack edge and oomph. Maroon 5's other releases were also good, and at moments, great. But their new effort is an attempt to stay on the charts, and that's unfortunate for a group that has artistic depth and credibility.”

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