Everyone has listened to a MAROON 5 song at least once in their relationship timeline, most specially that the Californian band is known for producing songs that stimulate one’s feelings of fantasy, longing, depression, addiction, and lust. They’ve swept, broken, and mended our hearts with just the touch of their music. Their latest album, Overexposed, brings out their poppier side. STATUS exposes this transformation and finds out from the band how it feels to always be a hot topic.
If you’re familiar with their early hymns like “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” and “Sunday Morning,” then you know just how the spell of Maroon 5 can take over. The band is composed of frontman Adam Levine, guitarist James Valentine, bassist Mickey Madden, drummer Matt Flynn, and keyboardist PJ Morton, who has currently replaced Jesse Carmichael who’s on a temporary hiatus.
Just like getting a tattoo on a drunk night, this band has managed to find a way to our subconscious and stick there, without us even remembering how. As James chimes in, “I hear ‘Moves Like Jagger’ everywhere… Overexposure might just be the best way to capture someone’s attention.”
The album name, Overexposed, reflects Maroon 5’s current status. From music videos, magazine covers, and talk shows—the band has lit all forms of media, and there are no signs of their limelight fading out.
This beam not only extends to the music world, but also manages to trickle into mainstream pop culture, notably due to their frontman, Adam Levine. “When I drive around LA, I see Adam’s face on billboards everywhere,” James adds.
Adam has caught more attention since he joined the reality singing competition, The Voice, as a judge and mentor alongside Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton. He also announced the beginning of his own record label, 222, signing Glee star Matthew Morrison to its roster. Adding points to his acting resume, Adam will be guest-starring in the second season of American Horror Story alongside Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, and Zachary Quinto. But what everyone wants to know is Adam’s relationship status. After two years with Russian supermodel Anne V, he is now stamped single in gossip blogs. That bit of news gained no sympathy from us—we always wanted him for ourselves anyway. (Just so you know A, we’re here for ya.)
Adam describes Overexposed as one of Maroon 5’s most diverse and poppiest albums yet. After last year’s wildly successful pop hit, “Moves Like Jagger” with Christina Aguilera, it’s not that much of a surprise why this “poppier” direction works. The band has gained a wider fan base with this seamless crossover track. Audiences of all ages rose to hit the dance floor, and sources tell us the song even got Mick Jagger to get up and move like himself. Seriously, how can you beat that?
The first single from their new album is “Payphone” featuring rising rapper Wiz Khalifa. In the music video, Adam is inside a payphone booth trying to reach someone, “wasting all his change” on her. On a recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Adam says, “We are in the era of cell phones… Now, if you’re at a payphone, there’s definitely something wrong… You’re in desperate need of something.”
Known for steamy narratives and casting gorgeous ladies, “Payphone” doesn’t stray from signature Maroon 5 music video tactics. Expect car crashes and massive explosions throughout. Adam is mistaken for a bank robber and attempts to outrun the cops. Seems like a little too much action for a heartbreak song? In this day and age, when our attention spans are moving at 1,000 miles an hour, maybe it’s that type of explosion that will keep our attention for four minutes and 40 seconds.
“There’s so much stuff out there that it’s hard to really stick out; so to make any sort of impact, you have to really make an impact, know what I mean?” says James, reinforcing the band’s commitment to go all out. James hopes, “I would like our next video to be directed by Quentin Tarantino. I wonder how we could ever convince him to do it.”
The action-packed lives and hyper mood of today’s generation translate to the cover art and energy of Overexposed. “There’s so much stimulation everywhere these days. The internet age is really intense, there’s just so many things in front of us all of the time. It seems like time is speeding up,” says James.
For a band that’s been around for over a decade, Maroon 5 managed to successfully stay current. They’ve outlasted a lot of their contemporaries. They’ve also been coming out with albums since the release of Songs About Jane 10 years ago, following it up with It Won’t be Soon Before Long, Hands All Over, and now Overexposed.
Even though they’ve been creating music for years, that doesn’t mean the process has been easy. James admits, “Opening yourself up to new things is always challenging. We get stuck in our habits very easily. You have to be very unself-conscious to break out of these patterns… You can’t hide away in fear, you have to put yourself out there.”
Breaking out of their patterns also meant supporting a new sound. The band has opened up to more outside collaborations. “We worked with other people on the writing of some of the songs,” explains James. Max Martin executively produced the album, with OneRepublic’s frontman Ryan Tedder, and producers Benny Blanco and Shellback adding their own pop magic. “We’ve never done that before. I think it challenged all of us in different ways,” he says.
But the question of making the album rock or pop was actually an afterthought. Their focus was still on creating great music that their audiences can appreciate. At the end of the day, it has to have “a great melody with a unique lyric that can connect with people,” says James.
For some artists, weaving the delicate balance between keeping their original audience and growing their sound is a huge risk, but for Maroon 5, it’s a fear they’ve managed to overcome. After all, we can’t always have the same things we had 10 years ago. Maroon 5 don’t have all their original members from when they started; but we’re all supportive of letting things evolve as they are meant to. Whether it be rock or pop, know that it’s still music developed out of Maroon 5’s flesh, sweat, and blood.
Story by Victoria Herrera
Photographed by Terry Richardson