Mantra for this review: we shall not allow our loins to be stirred by Adam Levine and cloud our judgement. No matter how good he looked during Maroon 5‘s performance at the VMAs, or how genuinely rousing it was (behave, not in that way). Nope, we’re going to keep it objective.
Luckily, V makes it easy for that to happen, as Levine has this unbelievable quality to transmit douchebaggery through song. Opener Maps is one of the more tolerable entries into their catalogue, but Animals makes us genuinely wonder how one man can exude so much smugness without even being seen.
Musically, it’s all run-of-the-mill stuff with the usual suspects of Tedder, Darkchild et al, who have clearly taken V as the perfect opportunity to offload their Z-grade material. And any excitement at seeing the name Gwen Stefani is soon expunged when My Heart Is Open turns out to be yet another dullsville Sia co-write, with our favourite no-Hollaback Girl churning out a performance so perfunctory you wonder why she even got out of bed for it.
If there’s a saving grace, it’s the genuinely good It Was Always You, a song that swims in cheese yet, like any food doing the same, we can’t help but enjoy despite ourselves. It’s a sole moment of sincerity across eleven tracks, the rest of it peppered with inane lyrics that generally insult pop via Levine’s chipmunked falsetto (seriously, just listen to the chorus of Feelings). Of course, it seemed a bit churlish to expect anything more from a Maroon 5 album – we’re used to watching their grandstanding lead singer with the volume off which, as it turns out, is actually the best way to listen to their music too.