Pop-rock band Maroon 5’s frontman Adam Levine may be a jokester on “The Voice,” but when it comes to music, he and his band don’t fool around. Their fifth and most recent album, “V,” is the perfect combination of heartfelt ballads and energized dance tracks. Classic instrumentals, talented vocal versatility and captivating lyrics embody all 14 tracks on the album.
As shown in the band’s 2004 platinum hit “She Will Be Loved,” Levine has always had a pure falsetto voice, and these vocals are sewn into some of the album’s most impressive songs. Levine uses his falsetto for “Animals,” a seductive track that may make its way up the charts, likely for its steady thumping drum beat, dubstep sound and frisky lyrics like, “Baby I’m preying on you tonight/ Hunt you down eat you alive/ Just like animals.” This track gives listeners a nice emotional break from the album’s deeper and more vulnerable songs.
A soulful piano arrangement starts off “My Heart Is Open,” which features singer Gwen Stefani. Levine and Stefani’s voices are layered on top of each other, but their inspirational lyrics, co-written by Levine, are never sung in unison, creating a layer of musical and emotional complexity that add to the heartfelt message of letting someone in.
Although each song on the album has the catchiness and enthusiasm to potentially move to the top of the charts, some of the tracks seem forced into the pop-song formula. The drum-driven techno piece “It Was Always You” is a strong example of this problem. The track’s synth-driven sound seems influenced by the increasing popularity of electronic music, and although the message of falling in love with a best friend seems accessible to a large majority of the audience, the instrumentals and vocals lack the vulnerability and passion reflected in the lyrics.
Maroon 5 shines in this latest album, showing that even after 20 years, it can still take the pop world by storm. “V” has a great balance of impassioned songs and party tracks that may make an audience want to get up and dance, and think deeply about emotional ties it could have to some of the album’s songs.