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Album review: Maroon 5's 'Hands All Over'

Maroon5 It says something serious about Maroon 5’s commitment to professional polish that this popular L.A. outfit — already one of rock’s slickest — opted to make its third studio disc with Robert “Mutt” Lange. He’s the reclusive production whiz behind such radio-bait blockbusters as Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” and “Come on Over” by his ex-wife, Shania Twain.

And, indeed, on “Hands All Over,” Lange successfully pushes Maroon 5’s music to newly glossy heights: James Valentine’s guitar in “Get Back in My Life” is more or less indistinguishable from Jesse Carmichael’s keyboard, while “Don’t Know Nothing” sounds like some forgotten Motown tune taken apart and reassembled by robots. Even the lightly country-fried closer, “Out of Goodbyes” (with a lush vocal cameo by Lady Antebellum), glimmers with a kind of space station sheen.

All that craft is deeply satisfying to ears accustomed to current pop’s computerized precision; a light-funk groove as neatly executed as the one in “Give a Little More,” for instance, is its own reward.

Yet “Hands All Over” reveals less about who frontman Adam Levine is than did Maroon 5’s previous records; too often the songs cleave to opaque generalities. Coming from a guy who’s written as frankly about psychosexual drama as anyone else on the Top 40, that’s a disappointment, especially when Levine flashes the occasional reminder of his old idiosyncrasy.

In lead single “Misery,” the latest in a long line of Maroon 5 songs concerning romantic obsession, Levine zooms in on the image of “your salty skin,” and for a second you realize that humans built this machine.

— Mikael Wood

Maroon 5

“Hands All Over”

A&M/Octone

Two and a half stars

 
Comments () | Archives (9)

Ouch! It sounds like music writer Mikael Wood won't be covering Maroon 5 when they play at the Greek next month.

Saw them on Letterman the other night. Worst band I've heard in years (IMO), at least live on Letterman.

I think their new album is pretty good, but they've done way better in their previous albums :0

Could not agree with you more... Honestly, they lost the soul, funk, and grittiness in which they previously, uniquely, possessed.

This band was orignially one of the coolest pop/rock acts around, and now they kind of just sound like everybody else. Which is a shame because I honestly believe they are truly GREAT musicians. It's almost like they made Glee cover album of Maroon 5 songs, rather than the actual Maroon 5 songs.

All of the spontaneity is lost, all of the excitement vanished, and all that is left are some generic lyrics, and and background music that is honestly no more exciting than a karaoke track.

Huge disappointment.

i agree with joceyln lua...songs about jane and it wont be soon be long much better than hands all over

How unfortunate the legendary services of Mutt Lange super producer, where not able to be utilized with good songs. These are just thoughtless & mawkish.

This is the man who produced the biggest selling rock record in rock history!!! AC/DC's back Back in Black. Around 50 million records! Only Thriller, in the pop category sold more, but no rock record did. Not to mention his Shania Twain work or his Def Leppard work.

Hard to believe - with everything available you get superbly polished nothings!

OK Musing

Robert Lange needs to stick with the hard stuff. When he splices the pop genre', it's just a mess. It's all safe, predictable and lacks any nuance.
Look at the corndog Shania hits from the 90's.
The entire new M5 album sounds like a sad, lonely visit to "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!" land. That's one trip, a band with this much talent, should have avoided going on. Uber-tight, formula filled (guitar riff here/"ohhhh" there) and missing any sparkle or wink their first two albums had. A few gems just can't save it. HAO falls flat on it's pretty face. Such a disappointment from a pop guilty pleasure.

Nicely done album!

Love it!
Every song is a single and able to hold its own

Awesome album


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