This is the funkiest Maroon 5 has ever been. Known for pop-rock ditties and smooth-voiced ballads, Adam Levine and his band are back with their third studio album, Hands All Over. This time, they are taking a different route with Motown influences and plinking piano, making for an intoxicatingly happy record.
Unlike their first record, Songs About Jane, this release is much less brooding, and to put it simply, it’s a great deal more fun. “Misery,” the band’s hit single released this summer, is a catchy, toe-tapping song. But, although it is very enjoyable, it does not quite set the mood for the rest of the album, though it could have appeared on a past album and blended in quite well. In contrast, the title track could be closely compared to Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” with a booming bass line in the chorus and a grooving loop with space-station-like beeps. This is very different for Maroon 5, but listeners should embrace it. Different can be good, and this time it is.
Hands All Over showcases jazzy, Motown tracks, unlike anything Maroon 5 has ever done before. “I Can’t Lie” is stuffed with “ooh’s” and “la la la’s,” and when Levine belts, “You’re stuck inside my head,” listeners cannot help but agree. It is almost impossible to not sing the track for the rest of the day after hearing it. “Get Back in My Life” is similar to “I Can’t Lie,” with loose guitars and a little sprinkling of violins and winds throughout the song. In a word, they are funky.
With all of this cheerfulness, listeners almost forget just about anything that is not upbeat. But no worries. And although Maroon 5 did not leave out the ballads, these songs do not slow or bring down the record at all. “How,” “Just a Feeling” and “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” are all heartfelt, sensual and romantic, but never once too mopey or depressing. They are full of heavy piano, quality vocals from Levine and gorgeous harmonies. Hands is the brightest shining gem in Maroon 5’s trilogy of records. Take a listen and behold the infectious light.