To answer the question that has been on everyone's minds, Maroon 5's new song "Maps" sounds exactly like it could have come from Overexposed. That shouldn't come as a surprise considering "Maps" was crafted by Overexposed 's writers and producers — some of them, anyway. Overexposed was synth pop at its best or worst, depending on whether or not you're a fan of Maroon 5, and the most heavy criticism came from many of Maroon 5's former fans. You know, those people who listened to Songs About Jane and don't like that the direction that the band went in after that. After all, Maroon 5 is a better band name than Adam Levine, Some Backup Singers, and Processed Pop.
Those looking to "Maps" to be a return to basics are going to be really disappointed. It is "Payphone", it is "One More Night", it is "Moves Like Jagger". It seems, for now, that Maroon 5 have figured out what works for them and is going to stick with it. Say goodbye to your "She Will Be Loved" and "Sunday Morning", unless the singles off V are going to sound completely different from one another. I'm not saying that "Maps" sounds exactly like all of Maroon 5's other recent singles because it does manage to differentiate itself, but it's definitely cut from the same mold and is probably likely to be a chart topper.
If you want to be optimistic, it sounds like what "Sunday Morning" would have sounded like had it been written for Overexposed. The emotion is there and you can hear it in Levine's voice during the verses. This, combined with the catchy and bouncy chorus and the synth melodies we're coming to expect from Maroon 5, make for the kind of song that will get stuck in your head for days. For a given definition of good, "Maps" is a good song.
It's just that "Maps" should be another nail in the coffin for any fan who was hoping for Maroon 5 to pull back from the commercial pop. It's like being a fan of Taylor Swift as a country singer. At some point, you have to give up and admit that commercial pop is the artist's thing now and that it works for them. Maroon 5 is definitely working "Maps", just like they worked Overexposed and just like they'll work their next singles between now and when V comes out in September. Trying to squeeze them into a box of what we think they should sound like is really unfair to the band.
Listen to the song below.