Maroon 5's "Maps" Could Be Another Pure Pop Song

by Alex Kritselis

Popular band Maroon 5 is set to release “Maps,” the lead single from their upcoming fifth studio album V, on June 16. Unfortunately, fans who were hoping that the group would return to the sound of their debut album, Songs About Jane, might be disappointed. Maroon 5’s last studio album, Overexposed, may have launched four consecutive hit singles (“Payphone,” “One More Night,” “Daylight,” and “Love Somebody”), but the band faced some harsh criticism for the album’s slick commercial pop sound.

Noting that many of Overexposed’s tracks featured “choruses so thickly produced that the only physical instrument” you could “reliably pick out” was Adam Levin’s larynx, Entertainment Weekly even argued that Maroon 5 was starting to feel more like a Levine solo project than an actual band. Will Maroon 5 be able to win back the critics, please their fans, and achieve chart success with their newest effort? It's a tall order, but I think they're up to the task.

While Songs About Jane was primarily written and composed by Levine and fellow band member Jesse Carmichael, the musicians have had a lot more outside assistance lately. Perhaps in an attempt to recreate the success of their chart-topping Christina Aguilera collaboration, “Moves Like Jagger,” Maroon 5 enlisted the help of pop hit makers Max Martin, Shellback, Benny Blanco, and OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder (among others) on Overexposed. The result was something that felt more like a collection of potential hit singles than a cohesive album (though the group did earn their third number-one record with “One More Night”).

Though Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine told MTV in April of last year that the material for V was “maybe a little darker,” “maybe back a little bit more” to what the band did on Songs About Jane, their upcoming single “Maps” was actually crafted by some of the same people who worked on Overexposed: Blanco (“Payphone”), Tedder (“Love Somebody”), and Noel Zancanella (“Lucky Strike”). Some people might see this as a bad thing, but I’m not so sure. The aforementioned writers and producers may be frequently associated with a more radio-friendly sound than some fans would like, but they’re not “one trick ponies,” by any means.

For example, you probably wouldn’t guess that Blanco, one of the people behind Kesha’s “Tik Tok,” also co-produced Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” Did you know that Tedder, one of the creators of Beyoncé’s “Halo,” also co-wrote Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”? As for Zancanella, he worked on Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You” as well as Demi Lovato’s “Neon Lights.” See? There’s quite a bit of sonic diversity going on here. If Maroon 5 decides to release a snippet of the song before June 17 and it sounds like totally generic radio drivel, by all means, have a meltdown. But until then, I don’t think we need to worry too much about “Maps” just yet.

OneRepublic tweeted on Tuesday that “Maps” “doesn’t sound like anything out” right now. That’s rather promising, isn’t it? Perhaps Maroon 5 will be able to claim the coveted title of 2014’s “Song of the Summer” (though they have some stiff competition). We’ll just have to wait and see!

V is due out on September 2.

Image: maroon5.com