Maroon 5, a pop band mostly featuring lead singer Adam Levine, released its seventh studio album, “Jordi,” on June 22, and with Maroon 5’s relevancy coming from pop radio hits such as “Sugar” and “Girl Like You,” the group finds itself grasping at straws for it here.
With the concept of love and the hurdles one must overcome to find it being the crux of the album, perhaps such complicated emotions would be explored more. But it’s displayed as simple as ever – there isn’t much of anything really being said besides the basic point of the song.
The best example of this being “One Light” featuring Bantu, where among the rougher parts of life, Levine has his significant other to be his “light” in the dark, a sentiment that has been done a million times before, and this one is pretty shallow.
“Nobody’s Love” is another example, being about how if Levine can’t love the object of his affection, he will never love anybody else and can’t imagine anybody else being by his side.
If she were to leave, he would feel immense pain.
If you’re going to have simple concepts and lyrics, the production should make up for it.
There are some cool electric guitar, funky bass, synth and hazy atmospheres, but there are few songs with more than one of these elements, and it gets repetitive quickly.
With a trap beat, or “snaps,” that has been overused the last few years and taking so much attention, it’s difficult to appreciate the cool moments.
There are all right concepts, such as “Can’t Leave You Alone” featuring Juice WRLD, where Levine loves the lady, but they are caught up on past heartbreak.
Although he thinks they do feel strongly, they are scared to admit it, and Levine can only watch and hope that they don’t fade away. But then, along with multiple other songs on the album, the production fails to bring the listener into the story.
A lot of Maroon 5’s production touches that I like come from additional, usually higher vocals in some of the final choruses that grab the listener’s attention. Builds, whether it be in the production or vocal progressions, also are a key piece to Maroon 5’s puzzle.
But on this album, I only noticed additional vocals a couple of times, and they weren’t as strong as usual. The builds in the production dropped to a chorus of nothing so many times that it became rare for them to lead up into anything satisfying.
There are some cool vocal progressions, but they sound misplaced, such as “Convince Me Otherwise” with H.E.R., in which there’s a high progression in the middle of the song instead of right before a final chorus like Maroon 5 usually does.
The rap features come out of nowhere and don’t always fit. Example: Juice WRLD talking about the devil, death and strip clubs in a sentimental song. As their own songs, these sections would work well, but they don’t here.
But when the featured artist is singing, such as Megan Thee Stallion’s little slice after her rap verse, it fits really well – and sometimes better than Levine, like with Stevie Nicks’ graceful harmonies in “Remedy” and H.E.R.’s angelic voice with beautiful runs in “Convince Me Otherwise.”
There are some diamonds in the rough. “Beautiful Mistakes” featuring Megan Thee Stallion is a radio hit and got there for a reason. The lyrics are simple, but the pace is consistent, the transitions are nice, and it’s just easy to listen to.
I like “Seasons” a lot with its super cool bassline, the guitar getting some room to shine, a more R&B singing style fitting the trap beat really well and the cloudy atmosphere that I’m a sucker for in music.
“Jordi” is the bare basics of what pop music can do, and Maroon 5 tries so hard for the summer vibe without doing much of anything that it comes across as surface level and shallow.
I can’t deny the catchiness of “Seasons” and “Beautiful Mistakes,” but everybody has guilty pleasures here and there.
Jordan Tolley-Turner is a high school summer intern. He begins his junior year at Shadle Park High School in the fall.