Album Review: VWonkeyDude98 Mini-Description: In my fourth record review, and third album review, I take a look at Maroon 5's weakest and least inspired project to date.
Best Songs: "It Was Always You", "New Love", "Animals", "Lost Stars"
Worst Songs: "Unkiss Me", "This Summer's Gonna Hurt", "Feelings"
Hello everyone, and today we're going to dive into the fifth album from Maroon 5 titled V. Now, I've always considered myself a Maroon 5 fan, more than what is usually respected on this site. I'm one who will defend all of their work. Yes, even Hands All Over and even Overexposed. They've always shown themselves as a more electronic-driven FallOutBoy. Yes, while Adam Levine is infinitely punchable and some of their production is overmixed and not very memorable, their melodies have always been very catchy, and their lyrics have always had a lot of emotion behind them.
That said, this album is drivel at its finest.
Now, it's not the worst album I've ever listened to, but it's one of the most uninspired, soulless albums I've ever listened to for certain. I actually really loved Overexposed despite how everything everyone said about it was right, because it was a pretty bright, memorable album. V on the other hand...isn't. Songs are either completely forgettable (Shoot Love), kriffing garbage (This Summer's Gonna Hurt), or both (Feelings). A good place to start is Adam Levine himself, because I don't know what went through his head but he is a nonpresence on this album. Even more so than previous releases was it grating to hear him screech through songs like Feelings like a strangled parrot. His voice has taken this smooth yet shrill nasal quality, and it's not at all appealing. Back when he was the most punchable thing ever, at least he had an identity. The only guest star on the album is Gwen Stefani on My Heart Is Open, and she actually manages to deliver her greatest vocal performance in years, and that's definitely one of the better songs on the album.
But the lyrics on this album.....while Levine's voice is stripped of distinctiveness, the writing definitely still has that d***ish tinge to it, but even that has been toned down. While there are some songs on here I can respect lyrically, such as Lost Stars and It Was Always You, others like Animals and This Summer's Gonna Hurt....why. Animals has an issue of being overly stalkish in tone and just in general being very underwritten and creepy, and This Summer's Gonna Hurt has this stinging bitterness to it that reminds me of the worst of
Chris Brown's work.
But then we get to my real problem with this album: the instrumentation and production. Holy lord in heaven. Maroon 5 said that this was going to be the closest they'd ever get to their Songs About Jane song when frankly they've never been farther. And I'm confident in saying that there is no worse path they could have taken. The synth melodies are incredibly trite and uninspired, take Feelings for example. A lot of songs like that are so unnecessarily bubbly that you can't even tell what instruments they are using. Probably the worst example of this is Unkiss Me, which is easily the worst song on the album, with the dead-eye dubstep and creepy synth line building up to one of the most downbringing choruses they've ever done. Usually it takes more than one failing component to be the worst song on an entire album, but Unkiss Me's production was a whole new bad. Another example is This Summer's Gonna Hurt, which takes some of the smoggiest, runniest synths I've ever heard and pairs it with the most gutless percussion possible.
Despite the album as a whole being a soulless uninspired slop, there were some moments here and there I liked. It Was Always You is easily my favorite song on the album, partly because of the competently written story of two good friends finally hooking up, and mostly because of the icy synths and calming melody. Animals, despite its questionable lyrics, has perfect mixing, with the punchy percussion and the glowy strings having a lot of texture and complementing Levine's vocals beautifully. In Your Pocket is probably the closest this album got to the bright Overexposed sound, and despite its overly suspicious narrative, you have to respect that melody. Lost Stars' simple acoustic sound complements the mournful lyrics and sounds great with Levine's softer voice. Finally, New Love's bouncy yet controlled melody sounded great on Levine's voice.
Other than this, there's not really much to find here. Maps, while a song I like, it's not for any particular reason, as the breezy randomly crescendoing beat is a mess on every ground. Sugar and Coming Back For You may not be bad, but tolerable is where they end. This is such a frustrating record, there's so much potential it had and it was wasted for yet another Adam Levine solo album disguised as a Maroon 5 record. At best, I give this a very light 4/10 and no recommendation. This is WonkeyDude98, signing out,
Animals is so..weird. And I never really liked M5, though I remember liking Songs About Jane. - RiverClanRocks
Basically Animals is a similar concoction as Me Myself and I by G-Eazy (even though I despise that song) in that it's a song with perfect production and horrible lyrics. - WonkeyDude98
My favorite m5 album will always be overexposed - ProPanda
It used to be mine. - WonkeyDude98
Same. - AlphaQ
The hit songs on this album were all meh or sucked. - Elina
Maps: I have no reason for liking this, one of the only songs to be like that.
Animals: The production on this is incredible, but the lyrics...
This Summer's Gonna Hurt: Absolutely horrible, so glad it flopped.
Feelings: This flopped hard. I'm glad. - WonkeyDude98
Of course! Maroon FiVe! That's why they named it V! - Martinglez
Actually the way you pronounce the album's name isn't "Vee" like the letter. It's the roman numeral, as it's the fifth album from a band called Maroon 5. "Five". - WonkeyDude98
Oh - Martinglez
Also, I like Feelings.
The lyrics are nice where Adam geniunely says he loves his girl, and the productions got a groove, and the song is pretty catchy. But uh.. yeah the chorus. 4/5 - ProPanda