Based on the title and cover art, it's obvious Maroon 5 is trying to be bold with their latest album, Hands All Over. Unfortunately, the album is anything but. Contrary to its provocative title, there is an unexpected somber tone for a majority of the album's songs. Instead of pushing into new territory, the entire album feels like 12 interpretations of the same song. The pop band seems to have run out of creative juice, selling uninspired songs that any chum off the street could have written. Fortunately, there are a few songs that are good enough to be associated with their once respected musical reputation, and they deserve more attention than the rest.
""Just a Feeling"" starts off slowly with simple lyrics but describes a real life cliché that many people will connect with, which will undoubtedly make it a hit. The automated harmony in the chorus is the best part of the song. You can hear lead singer Adam Levine's passion as he belts out every bridge. The hooks and vocal talent make this song, unlike most on the Hands All Over, worth listening to.
""Never Gonna Leave This Bed"" provides a cute metaphor and enjoyable tune. The lyrics actually seem to be meaningful and heartfelt. Levine promises faithfulness to his lover in the middle of the night amongst powerful drumming and pinging keyboard notes. It sounds like the classic cinematic love song format and everything about the track just works.
Now on to the bad.
""Stutter"" could only be worse if Adam Levine literally stuttered his way through the song. The rhyming lyrics ""You're just a fantasy girl / It's an impossible world"" makes the song come off like a joke. The idea behind the song might have had good intentions, but the final product falls flat.
""Hands All Over"" is a sad attempt at making a boy band hit using Bon Jovi tactics. The background vocals feel forced, mainly because of the rhyming lyrics. There is no variety in rhythm or melody and its tempo, if you can even call it that, is awful. It is not fierce enough for a rock song but not serious enough for a slow dance.
Listeners will do a double-take when they hear ""Get Back in My Life"" as they'll automatically think they've heard it before. It's that unoriginal. Then again, the melody gets borderline creepy toward the end, turning Halloween-esque, and too odd to appreciate. To add insult to injury, the words are demanding but not poignant enough to serve their lyrical purpose.
On first listen, ""Runaway"" seems like it could be a catchy tune, but it turns out to be another unimpressive song. It's too cheesy for anyone's liking, even Wisconsinites. Levine sings of a fifth grade quality relationship in which the girl ""runs away."" The plainness of the piece won't move anyone to add it to their ""favorites"" playlist.
Maroon 5 have hinted at this being their last album, which is a crying shame since a pop group of once prominent standing should not leave on this mediocre of a note. The band failed to utilize the exact pop formula that made them successful in the first place. And, though painful to say, a repetitive formula is better than having no aim whatsoever. All in all, this is a forgettable record that will draw all Maroon 5 fans to their copies of the Songs About Jane and rediscover why they loved this band in the first place.