Album Review: Maroon 5 plays it safe with Hands all Over

Album ReviewHands All Over★★★

Mixing funky sounds with lead singer Adam Levine's incomparable voice, Maroon 5 has returned from a three-year hiatus with its third album Hands All Over. The album doesn't disappoint, but neither does it do much to impress.

Every song is a potential hit with upbeat rhythms and catchy tunes, but most of the tracks are superficial. The songs have a fun, energetic feeling to them, but they don't really move past that. There's nothing deep about them, nothing that tugs at our emotions.

The only track that comes close to making the listener feel something is "Never Gonna Leave This Bed." Passion oozes from Levine's voice as he belts out his promise to be faithful to his lover. The heartfelt lyrics really give the song the foundation it needs: "Wake you up/ In the middle of the night to say/ I will never walk away again." The track's noteworthiness is born from its lighthearted melody and optimistic tone.

What is really missing from Hands All Over is originality; many tracks seem to be mutations of Maroon 5's previous hits. While the first single off the album, "Misery," is a fun, catchy tune, it clearly hearkens back to the melody of "This Love," which makes it seem as though the group is just recycling old material.

"Out of Goodbyes," a track featuring Lady Antebellum, is the only track where Maroon 5 puts something new on the table. The attempt to mix the band's pop/funk style with Lady Antebellum's country flair just doesn't seem to sit right. Levine's voice is not suited for the easy lilting of country music, and the track falls flat.

Between its first album, Songs About Jane, and its second album, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, Maroon 5 underwent a transformation from classic pop to a more funky soulful sound. I therefore, and perhaps mistakenly, expected that Hands All Over would have shown more evolution, especially since it has been three years since the group last released anything new.

To my slight dismay, Hands All Over just reiterates the same funk feeling that was present in It Won't Be Soon Before Long. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Maroon 5 has always been a little more progressive than other pop bands and Hands All Over just makes it seem like they weren't trying very hard to be true to themselves.

Hands All Over is a fun album that we listeners can totally have dance parties to in our dorms, but is it a life-altering, jaw-dropping musical masterpiece that will stay with us forever? Probably not.

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Florence + the Machine Lungs (2009)

The Goo Goo DollsSomething for the Rest of Us (2010)