They say that bands exist on ‘life cycles’ that come and go with the years. However, this is not the case for Maroon 5. They have brought us hit after hit, banger after banger since 2001. With songs such as ‘She Will Be Loved’, ‘Moves like Jagger’ to ‘Sugar’, which no doubt we have all heard thousands of times through the years. Maroon 5 have cracked the recipe for creating incredibly catchy songs which remain stuck in your head for the foreseeable future. Their most recent release, Red Pills Blue is no different.
If we strip it back, the underlying themes link back cleverly to the title. The choice of either focusing on the sometimes painful reality of the world, or living within a blissful ignorance. Listen to the contrast between the soulful electronic ballad ‘Denim Jacket’ to the blunt, snappier tune ‘Plastic Rose’ and you’ll see what I mean. The 15 tracked album flows nicely, jumping between each scenario.
Whilst the album has proven that the band has evolved extraordinariliy over time, constantly moving with the times and giving the people exactly what they wanted, they have still found a way to incorporate their distinct sound within the heart of the album, in classic Maroon 5 style. Adam Levine’s vocals are, as you probably already know, are something quite incredible. Red Pills Blue has managed to intertwine their roots with an extra dose of blue-sy jazz, which can be heard especially in the outro for ‘Closure’. In addition they have also experimented with synths and electronics in such songs as ‘Best For You’ and even with a twinge of reggae vibes in ‘Visions’.
But in contrast to prior work Maroon 5 have teamed up for six out of the 15 tracks which is more than they have ever done in previous albums. These clever collaborations with the likes of SZA for the electro-pop track ‘What Lovers Do’, A$AP Rocky pops up for an appearance in the sultry ‘Whisky’. Future also collaborates with the American band in their second single of the album ‘Cold’, which was released earlier this year. Even Kendrick Lamar for the huge hit ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ which was released in October in 2016. I’ve got to say that it is these twists and surprises that completely add a new element to Maroon 5’s album.
All of the tracks on this album bring something exciting and new. It is clearly evident that Maroon 5 has long left behind its Songs About Jane days and are still one step ahead and still making waves within the music industry. It is so nice to see that despite a lot of experimenting and change, that the band have not lost that spark that made them so good in the first place.
Here’s to the past 16 years of Maroon 5 and lets hope that there are still many more years to be celebrated.