review: Marla Cantrell
Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5, recent husband of supermodel Behati Prinsloo (they married in July 2014), and coach on The Voice, was feeling pretty romantic when he agreed to spend a December day crashing weddings in L.A. for a video of the group’s song “Sugar,” which is featured on this album, V (which is pronounced five). Brides and grooms stood in awe as Maroon 5, dressed to the nines, took the stage at their receptions, and the couples were serenaded by one of the biggest pop-rock groups around today.
There are a total of eleven songs on V, all co-written by Levine. These are fiery songs, easy to remember, smooth as silk. Levine’s tenor voice glides over the notes, making us remember the joy of pop music. It helps that the group has been together so long—they started singing together in 1994.
“Leaving California” is a gorgeous number about a couple on the verge of a breakup. “Even if the sun crashes into us, I won’t let go,” Levine says. Even the first time listening to this, you’ll know it’s going to be a hit that you’ll be hearing for a long time to come.
“My Heart is Open” is a duet with Gwen Stefani, his costar on The Voice. Their voices work beautifully together and Stefani shines bright, especially in the parts where she sings solo.
“Maps” is a lament. Levine wonders what happened to his relationship, and he’s looking for a map that leads him back to the woman he loved. As good as it is, “UnKiss Me” is the ultimate breakup song. It starts with Levine singing with very little instrumentals backing him up. He is pleading—”unkiss me, untouch me, untake my heart.” If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you’ll recognize the sentiment. There comes a time when you’d give everything you have just to go back to before you met, before you fell in love and then lost it.
The one deviation is “Animals,” a song about attraction so overwhelming it’s hard to think of anything else. The tempo is addictive, Levine’s voice is amped up, the instrumentation is perfect. It’s been a big hit for Maroon 5, appearing on a Kia Soul commercial, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and becoming the band’s tenth Top 10 single in the U.S.
The album lasts just over forty minutes. It feels a lot faster; each song whips along, and Levine’s voice is dead-on throughout. Right now, Maroon 5 is on a whirlwind tour that’s taking them from California to Liverpool, Amsterdam, and Morocco.
It’s quite a life for the thirty-five-year-old Levine, who was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2013. When he won, he said the secret to staying fit was yoga. He’ll be needing that even more, now that he’s globe-trotting with his band, singing the songs that pull us in and keep us listening.