Last week a commenter declared that I was “easily” the most unappealing writer on this website. So rather than fight it (haters gonna hate, as we’ve been told), I’d rather put this newfound title into practice.
Hence today’s post: a full-throated defense of Maroon 5.
First, background story: A Facebook friend recently told a story of approaching Adam Levine in a bar and telling him, through beer-stained syllables, “Your band…is fucking terrible.”
Okay, 1) So obviously famous people probably get this kinda shit all the time. If I saw Kris Humphries in public I’d criticize his rebounding or whatever. And 2) Also, obviously, one would think Levine—and any musician of his commercial appeal (read: popularity, read: people really fucking like your band) wouldn’t give my friend the authority to become the collective specter of “public comment” on his band.
I mean this is the guy who sang “Wake Up Call.” He’s not the kind of guy to hear what you’re saying. He’s into raw emotion. He’ll answer questions, never “maybe,” etc…He’ll shoot you dead if you sleep with his wife (even if he’s over 6 foot-tall, is his heart still beating? etc…).
But Levine’s response to my friend was not the suave brush-off I’d hope for from him. Instead, apparently, he flipped out and yelled “Fuck you, man!” while slamming his leg into the jukebox.
This story sorta depressed me for awhile.
It goes without saying that Maroon 5 are today’s Hall and Oates. The same boomerang trajectory of unexpected hipness H&O is currently riding will most certainly be Maroon 5 in 20 years. Your children will stare at you confoundingly (and with growing impatience) when you explain to them why you didn’t go to Maroon 5’s concerts or purchase Hands All Over Me.
How do I know Maroon 5 are the next H&O? Let’s look at the evidence.
1) Maroon 5 are not super dance craze cool like LMFAO nor neo-disco zeitgeist cool like Lady Gaga, but they are quickly achieving that creepy old dude in the bar with jelled hair who thinks it’s the late 90s but still manages to lay hotter/younger chicks than you do cool that has somehow become like the epitome of cool in post-9/11 America. That is also the exact description of Daryl Hall circa the last 30 years. (Oates ain’t so bad on the eyes, either.)
2) Maroon 5 plays own instruments/writes own songs. Levine’s voice may be genetically modified in a Dr. Luke test tube, but he (at least on record) is the best blue-eyed soul singer since Weird Al copped Stevie Wonder/Koolio on “Amish Paradise.” And their songwriting is the nastiest, crunkiest bunch of jive-talking, hip-hop-infused dance tonic since the Bee Gees held the nation’s dance clubs in an ascot-enhanced velvet grip.
3) I can quickly name off more Maroon 5 songs that I like than Justin Timberlake or Stephen Bishop joints. Combined. And I think that means in the world of 1980s Yacht Rock Redux, Maroon 5 has a big lyrically-trite but undeniably catchy big-ass boat.
4) When talking Maroon 5, you’re talking all about the hits. Sure, take one ill-advised step off their “singles” tracks on Spotify and you will be flatly blown away by the depths of their suckiness. But the same is true with Hall and Oates. I once dated a girl who had as a redeeming quality a penchant to sing loudly and off-key the lyrics to “Rich Girl” at a moment’s notice without warning in traffic. This was cute. But when she played nearly half the tracks on her H&O Essentials disc, I could only see the relationship going down in flames. Have you heard “Adult Education”?! It’ll make you never want to enter a community college again. But I can’t help but think if anyone in today’s pop music world were to resurrect it, Adam Levine would be first in line…quite possibly naked to the torso.