On September 2, 2014, Interscope Records will release V – the new album by Maroon 5. True to its title, V represents the fifth full-length studio effort from the Grammy Award winning superstar band. Considering that career benchmark, Maroon 5’s latest provides a sonic summation of the group’s journey to date – capturing the essence of the earliest M5 hits through to their most recent successes, as well as providing a picture of its artistic growth into the future.
Bringing it all back home, V features the return of M5’s original keyboardist Jesse Carmichael to the fold, rejoining frontman Adam Levine, guitarist James Valentine, bassist Mickey Madden, drummer/percussionist Matt Flynn, and keyboardist PJ Morton after a two-year hiatus. V also builds on the momentum of the most successful period in M5’s history, re-teaming the band with previous collaborators and featuring some unexpected new friends, too.
Maroon 5 has always proven popular since the release of the band’s debut album – 2002’s five-times-platinum Songs About Jane, featuring classic M5 hits like “This Love” and “She Will Be Loved” that forged its pioneering template of rock, pop and R&B. In 2011, Maroon 5 built on the momentum of two unlikely forces colliding: the massive exposure brought by Levine’s status as a host of the smash TV series The Voice, and the release of “Moves Like Jagger,” which returned M5 to the top 10 after a four-year break. An international #1 single, “Moves Like Jagger” became a pop-culture phenomenon – becoming not just Maroon 5’s biggest hit, but one of the best-selling singles of all time, selling over 14 million copies. That triumph was followed up with yet another win, Maroon 5’s 2012 album Overexposed, which only made the group bigger. Overexposed unleashed a foursome of top 10 hit singles – “Payphone,” “Daylight,” “Love Somebody,” and “One More Night” – the latter of which spent nine weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, setting a record for the band.
For V, Maroon 5 has created a set of irresistible pop juggernauts raising the band’s sound to the next level. V’s lead-off single “Maps” finds Maroon 5 taking the reggae-influenced vibes the group honed on Overexposed hits like “One More Night” to new heights, via an infectious pop-rock meditation on longing and obsession (“I was there for you in your darkest times/I was there for you in your darkest nights”), where Levine’s soulful ,elastic falsetto recalls none other than one of his biggest inspirations, Sting and The Police. It also reteams the songwriting collaboration between Levine and Ryan Tedder (Adele, Beyoncé, One Direction), Benny Blanco (Katy Perry, Britney Spears) and Ammar Malik (Gym Class Heroes, Lady Antebellum, “Moves Like Jagger”).
That reggae influence also shows up on the “whoa-oh-ohs” of “Animals”: a lustful anthem driven by a booming, Soul II Soul-style hip-hop beat, “Animals”’ hooky chorus (“Baby, I’m preying on you tonight/Hunt you down, eat you alive/Just like animals”) evokes the otherworldly melodies of Miike Snow. As such, V also finds Maroon 5 returning to the dancefloor with standout track “Feelings,” whose disco-meets-Michael Jackson groove, 4/4 EDM thump, and Daft Punk-style vocoders suggests “Moves Like Jagger” on robot steroids. Meanwhile, it’s become a M5 tradition to feature a collaboration with an unexpected guest artist, with major talents like Wiz Khalifa (“Payphone”), Lady Antebellum (“Out of Goodbyes”), Rihanna (“If I Never See Your Face Again”) and Christina Aguilera (“Moves Like Jagger”) having done the honors on hits past. On that level, V does not disappoint, as “My Heart Is Open” features Levine performing a duet with none other than Gwen Stefani.
That’s not the only surprise on V, however. “My Heart Is Open” reveals Maroon 5 at its most emotionally raw and direct: it features Levine’s passionate romantic testifying (“I don’t need another lover/I want you”) over a spare, heart-tugging piano ballad, building to a soaring chorus with subtle orchestration. “Leaving California,” meanwhile, hearkens back to the classic M5 sound – the bittersweet yet catchy confessionals of heartbreak from Songs About Jane that propelled the band to fame in the first place. As such, V brings Maroon 5 full circle, moving strength to strength from the band’s vital beginnings to its ongoing rise – taking the listener down nostalgic and new paths alike to create the latest undeniable chapter in the M5 odyssey.