By Claire Wood, For The Daily
Published February 22, 2015
I never thought howling could be so sexy.
Three minutes and six seconds into Maroon 5’s latest release “Animals,” heartthrob Adam Levine successfully proves me wrong, letting out a wolf-cry that makes girls squeal from California to Colorado. It’s hot, animalistic, carnal and — fortunately for the band — rakes in over 157 million hits on YouTube.
But let’s backtrack.
“Sunday morning / Rain is falling / Steal some covers / Share some skin.”
It’s classic Maroon 5: Adam Levine’s velvet vocals over mellow piano. Their first album, 2002's Songs About Jane, defines their character. “Harder to Breathe” and “This Love” overlap plugged guitar with strong vocals. Or consider my heart-melting favorite “She Will Be Loved.” Gentle percussion backing smooth voice, Levine has us all at the first line. “Beauty queen of only 18” — and, let’s be honest, we’re all wishing it was us.
It’s this style — catchy, yet sophisticated — that we dig. It’s real music with real instruments, from the snazzy percussion of “The Sun” to the tame piano of “Sunday Morning.” This self-confident, genuine quality keeps the fans hooked. This authenticity defines the band.
Then 2011 rolled around, and BOOM: “Moves Like Jagger” happens.
Believe me when I say I didn’t see it coming either — Levine took us all by surprise with that one. It’s catchy, enticing, and … not Maroon 5. We’re taken aback. In “Moves Like Jagger,” the old jams of Songs About Jane erupt into pulsing percussion, pop verses and high-energy whistling.
This, however, is just the start. As single after single is released, Levine sheds his old identity. “Daylight” boasts electronic instrumentals. “Payphone” features high vocals, incessant beats and Wiz Khalifa. With their most recent release, “Animals,” Adam Levine makes the transformation complete with a bestial howl at the work’s climax.
Confession? I miss the old Adam. The real guitar, gentle piano, jazzy beats — I found it all rather classy, which just made everything sexier in my eyes. But that’s just me talking, and — based on the popularity of their recent releases — it seems that new-and-improved Maroon 5 isn’t doing so bad.
Can we blame them for the transformation? Not really. While the old-time hit “Sunday Morning” scored 54 million Youtube views, Maroon 5’s latest, pop-ified release “Animals” has raked in over double that.
The brutal truth is that times change; people don’t want the same thing forever. Artists morph alongside shifting consumer tastes. Where would we be without a little change in music, anyway? Just think — if preferences didn’t change, we might still be stuck in the ’70s (shudders in terror). Top 40 hits tailor to please the popular majority, i.e. the teenage population; thus, pop songs have to pop. They’re played at frat parties and bars. John Lennon’s “Imagine” is a real work of art, but it’s certainly not your first choice to get people pumped at the Saturday-morning tailgate. “She Will Be Loved” is the same way: gorgeous, relaxing and just not what people are looking for. Teens want something that’s vibrant, hot, electrifying. And with the band’s transformation, Maroon 5 give them just that.