Hands All Over
September 21, 2010
Octone/ A&M/ UMG
1. Misery // 2. Give A Little More // 3. Stutter // 4. Don’t Know Nothing // 5. Never Gonna Leave This Bed // 6. I Can’t Lie // 7. Hands All Over // 8. How // 9. Get Back in My Life // 10. Just a Feeling // 11. Runaway // 12. Out Of Goodbyes (feat. Lady Antebellum)
Deluxe edition bonus tracks:
13. Last Chance // 14. No Curtain Call // 15. Never Gonna Leave This Bed [Acoustic] // 16. Misery [Acoustic] // 17. If I Ain’t Got You [Live] // 18. Crazy Little Thing Called Love [Acoustic]
13. Moves Like Jagger (feat. Christina Aguilera)
For Maroon 5’s third album of original material (fourth if you count the Fourth World) they decidedly didn’t attempt to fix what wasn’t broken. Like It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, Songs About Jane and even the Fourth World this album contains exactly twelve tracks, clocking at under 45 minutes, which is plenty for it not to be a glorified EP yet isn’t so long that you’ll be sick and tired after only one listen. Like its predecessors it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Problem is that another, less static, more progressive trend has been continued as well. From their alt-rock debut, through Jane and IWBSBL they have become an increasingly slick, polished unit. Where Jane by a small stretch of the imagination could be considered alternative mainstream, It Won’t Be Soon was a shameless attack on the pop charts, a terifically executed shameless attack on the charts that didn’t actually trade in quality for pop-appeal. But still a move that one could consider selling out if one is so inclined (For the record, I am not. I think Adam had as much fun becoming a slightly rocky disco diva as his audience, and that the band, if anything were indulging themselves with the new direction. Moves Like Jagger certainly points in that direction.)
Hands All Over however doesn’t cross the band into any new territory, the way Makes Me Wonder or If I Never See Your Face Again did. Those two snide, sarcastic, crunchy funk numbers are reprised in the form of Give a Little More, as catchy a song as any in their back catalog and hands down the best thing on here.
It’s not that the rest of the songs here are offensive to the ears. In fact Don’t Know Nothing has a cute little Motown-vibe. Misery and Stutter are funky and catchy enough dancefloor fun with refrains you can sing along to.
Never Gonna Leave This Bed should satisfy adult contemporary rock audiences worldwide, and would be a good choice for the sweltering background music to the makeout scene in some young adults-movie.
I Can’t Lie is some sunny soul-pop with a very mild ska/reggae influence that wouldn’t sound out of place at a BBQ.
Hands All Over is about as hard as Kara’s Flowers rock these days, and it has plenty of rockstar attitude and strut. Just a Feeling is the big, emotional ballad à la Won’t Go Home Without You, and it’s every bit as catchy, if not quite as poignant.
Out Of Goodbyes pairs M5 with country band Lady Antebellum for something that marries mild-mannered country and sultry bossa nova.
As can’t-complain-decent as everything is, there’s absolutely nothing on here you haven’t head before, better, both by this band and by other artists. So while Hands All Over may be an album too catchy and professionally done to outright dismiss it is also too toothless to outright recommend to anyone in particular, besides M5 fans fiending desperately for a new fix.
(Still, the tracks contained in the main version of this album sound damn near experimental compared to the deluxe edition bonus tracks. Completely literal covers of Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You and Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love are best left to your the Voice protégés, Adam. What the fuck!?)
Still there’s one special edition of this album that should be considered for a purchase before any other. One that incorporates but one additional song, one that, novelty hit and guilty pleasure it may be, helps to make up for the most fundamental of this album’s flaws, lack of memorability. That song is the Christina Aguilera-featuring electro-disco Voice-fest called Moves Like Jagger. And that reissue of Hands All Over gets a 070/100 rather than the main edition’s 065/100.
Give A Little More
(Moves Like Jagger)
Pick up the reissue of Hands All Over, you’ll get two pretty cool dancefloor jams and eleven additional songs that may not be very substantial (in fact even less so than M5’s music usually is) and completely evaporate from consience after this disc stops spinning, but are still quite enjoyable when they’re on.