Tag Archives: Benny Blanco

Maroon 5 – Overexposed

Maroon 5
Overexposed
June 20, 2012
A&M OctoneUMG
068/100
Maroon 5 - Overexposed
1. One More Night // 2. Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa) // 3. Daylight // 4. Lucky Strike // 5. The Man Who Never Lied // 6. Love Some Body // 7. Lady Killer // 8. Fortune Teller // 9. Sad // 10. Tickets // 11. Doin Dirt // 12. Beautiful Goodbye

Bonus tracks
13. Wipe Your Eyes // 14. Wasted Year // 15. Kiss // 16. Moves Like Jagger (feat. Christina Aguilera) // 17. Payphone [Supreme Cuts Remix] (feat. Wiz Khalifa) // 18. Payphone [Cutmore Remix] (feat. Wiz Khalifa) // 19. Payphone [Sound of Arrows Remix] (feat. Wiz Khalifa)

What constitutes a sellout? Did Maroon 5 trade in credibility for cold hard cash? A lot of other reviewers, as well as fans certainly think that Overexposed is a perfect example of a sellout and yes, they did.

To this reviewer this is not a question that’s easy to answer. One could go either way arguing, really. While Maroon 5 has always been about catchy radio-ready songs and never seemed to give a fuck about high culture credibility (which was good for them because they never got any accordingly) one could usually argue in their defence that in spite of their lack of innovative music-making they at the very least were a skilled traditional soul-influenced rock band, bringing many times some oft needed warm organic sounds to EDM and hip-hop dominated charts.

But with their ballsily titled fourth/fifth studio album of original material Overexposed they throw this shred of cred out the window so that Adam can finally be the electro disco diva he always envisioned himself to be, and which the success of their über-catchy, Christina Aguilera-featuring novelty hit Moves Like Jagger, which is present both on their last album Hands All Over and here as a bonus-track, finally allows him to be. (Well, in terms of success anyway. Makes Me Wonder and If I Never See Your Face Again already hinted at this artistic direction, but they never became as huge hits as Jagger did.)

This would be just fine if this were marketed as Levine’s solo-debut album, but since it is dubbed an M5 album it really makes one wonder how much imput the other four had. Overexposed for the most part doesn’t sound like four-to-five humans playing instruments, with one of them singing.
Also the list of producers recruited for Overexposed, and especially its opening salvo (Max Martin, Shellback, Benny Blanco) seem to have purposely been selected to push M5 in an EDM direction, one that requires but a person with a laptop with fl studio on it and a keyboard and a vocalist to make music, not a five piece band. The rock-influences (they had been a full rock band on their ’97 debut) have now fully and completely disappeared, which they had gradually been doing bit by bit, album by album anyway. This is EDM influenced R&B pop.

The resulting album is quite the quilty pleasure. From the Rihanna-esque Max Martin produced pop-reggae of One More Night, through the Wiz Khalifa-featuring android-Coldplay of Payphone. These songs would work equally well in the club as they would on M.O.R. radio.
And since M5 never really rocked hard you’d have to pay attention to actually notice them landing in their usual more acoustic, less robotic groove on Daylight, and find a way to succesfully blend both styles on the exuberant Lucky Strike, which manages to approach Jagger in is sheer mindless fun and catchyness.

The Man Who Never Lied manages to slyly incorporate the rhythm of this generation, dubstep in a glossy pop song and again blends electronic with the human in a manner that should get some heads to nod and some foots to tap.
Love Somebody is glossy new wave/ disco pop that’s tailor made for the discotheque and as such is works fine.

Lady Killer distinctly sounds like the Maroon 5 of olde with it’s very human, mildly funky groove and lyrics about heartbreak on the dancefloor and what not, and for longtime fans it should come as a breath of fresh air.

Love Somebody is glossy new wave/ disco pop that’s tailor made for the discotheque and as such is pretty functional.
Fortune Teller and Tickets are pretty decent, pretty straightforward GaGa ripoffs, What’s that? What are you complaining about? Bounce, bitch, bounce!
Sad is the first actual ballad on here and consists of nothing but Adam’s singing and a piano accompaniment. It sounds like the sort of vocal display that the Voice-participants would perform to impress the jury.
Doin’ Dirt is some stroboscope-shining disco for the ecstasy generation and constitutes the last call to the dancefloor, before Beautiful Goodbye‘s slow tempo initiates the slow dance that should draw you and the person you want to take home and bed together and finally break the ice.

(For those sticking around for the after-party, in the bonus track section you will find Moves Like Jagger as a fitting encore, as well as a rockabilly cover of Prince’s Kiss that is actually pretty innovative, but doesn’t fit on Overexposed, a song that blends early naughties Justin Timberlake and some big band horns called Wasted Year and finally three asinine remixes of Payphone in a row that all sound exactly the same as the original version.)

Now, back to the question posed in the beginning of the review. What constitutes a sellout? Did M5 sell their soul (no pun intended) just to sell records the way many other reviewers claim?

Here at DITC the jury is still out, actually. On the one hand, as was said earlier; M5 was never about very substantial music, not even during their “grunge” days, and Overexposed doesn’t sound forced. It is entirely possible Adam and co. enjoyed fucking around with some new sounds (even if everyone else was fucking with those exact same sounds at the exact same time, Adam is well known to not be a very picky guy) On the other hand, it is entirely possible that the record label liked the extra revenue Jagger brought about and told the guys to deliver another dozen of those.

Who cares with results this catchy? Overexposed is a party, a very slight party, but one worth attending anyway. And whoever’s idea it was making an electro-dance record, it wasn’t a completely horrible one. Especially considering what a relative clunker Hands All Over was. And even though I still think this more as a producers-driven Adam Levine solo album on which his band-buddies only get to play along on a couple of tracks. But that doesn’t mean in any way there’s not a wealth of catchy ass-shakers on here, because there is (more than on Hands All Over but less than on IWBSBL). Hopefully the guys will swiftly return to what got them a fanbase and made them, you know, a band with their own sound, and it remains to be seen whether anyone will listen to this in ten years (except Jagger, which is one for the ages) but for now this is a very catchy, well put-together album for the summer. And that is certainly worth something.

Best tracks
One More Night
Payphone
Lucky Strike
Lady Killer
Tickets
Doin Dirt
(Wasted Year
Kiss
Moves Like Jagger)

Recommendations
Pick this up, you should go for the deluxe edition. Even if it contains it’s fair share of meh tracks, there’s even more pop music that’s catchier than ebola.


Justin Bieber – My Worlds

Justin Bieber

My Worlds

19-11-2010

RBMG/ Island records/ Universal Music Group

That picture scares the crap out of me.

So what do we have here? Justin Bieber, eh? I’m supposed to hate this guy with every fiber of my body, otherwise I can’t hang out with the cool kids. But peer pressure or no peer pressure the first time I heard One Time I really did think a 12 year old girl was singing it, I don’t believe I am the only one, and it took me watching the video of Baby three times and a checking of his Wikipedia to be certain of my being wrong.

So this guy hails from Stratford Ontario. He was throwing flix of himself singing onto youtube. Usher and Justin Timberlake both wanted to sign him. Usher eventually did which lead him to record consequently his debut EP My World and his first full length My World 2.0. This release puts those two together and is somewhat cleverly called My Worlds. It has been out since 19-10-2010, it’s been a pretty polarizing album among critics and it’s been a monster seller worldwide. Mostly to children wanting it for christmas. Also it lead some people sending him death threats, placing comments concerning him on a lot of video’s mr. Bieber ain’t got shit to do with, which is great advertisment by the way because it got me curious about this. In my quest to find out why everyone and their grandmother hates this and nobody will admit to owning this while this album sells millions of copies  I will go where no man has ever gone before. I will listen to Justin Bieber’s debut My Worlds in its entirety. If you hear nothing from me in two weeks please come visit my house. If you find me with my head exploded and only half the review written, please throw that bit on my site with a warning that listening to My Worlds may be hazardous to your health.

1. One Time

Fucking hell. This is some of the most sterile music ever put to wax. This shit makes the Backstreet Boys sound soulful and sincere in comparison. What have I gotten into? But then again it’s not all Bieber’s fault since this song is helmed by “Tricky” Stewart who is the worst thing to ever happen to R&B music.

2. Favorite Girl

While right now this does nada for me because this shit is both really naïve and sugarcoated, I might’ve secretly liked it if this came out when I was thirteen.

3. Down To Earth

This would make some pretty effective theme music for one of those shitty young teenagers shows that you can check out on Nickelodeon. That tells you everything you need to know about My Worlds… I’ll get back to why in the conclusions.

4. Bigger

Really Justin?

5. One Less Lonely Girl

And one more pubic hair, right?

6. First Dance (feat. Usher)

Made me think of my first “dance”, the 1997 song Slow Jams by Monica and Usher who is barely featuring on this song and Usher’s 1994 self titled debut which didn’t sound a motherfucking thing like My Worlds even though Usher himself was 15 years old when he recorded it. But then that album flopped spectacularly. groan. Girls in their early teens really have poor taste in everything.

7. Love Me

Contains spectacularly corny and dorky lyrics and the same lifeless synthesizers and overkill of drums we’ve had so far.

8. Common Denominator

Comparing love to maths homework. Sadly that makes some sense.

9. Baby (feat. Ludacris)

Ludacris sounds awkward as fuck on here but I actually didn’t completely hate this one. There’s some pretty tricky synthesizer work going on here (no pun intended). The guy ad-libbing does some damage though. But overall this piece of pop-fluff is bearable.

*swoosh*

What’s that?

Your music reviewing credentials going down the toilet.

Shit

10. Somebody to Love

Who made this electro-hop fusion popular? I blame the Black Eyed Peas.

11. Stuck in the Moment

If I were to blame these dead cold instrumentals for this album’s failing I’d have to review the acoustic version of this album right?

Alright then I won’t do that.

12. U Smile

Is it a coincidence that the most soulful and probably the best song on the album is produced by former Wyclef Jean-protegé Jerry Wonder Duplessis and not some people I at least have never heard of or known fuck-ups The-Dream (awkward punctuation and all) and Tricky Stewart? Highly unlikely.

13. Runaway Love

Apparently Kanye West remixed this fucker and lured Raekwon into the studio with a twenty dollar bill tied to a fish line and wouldn’t let Rae out until he performed alongside of him and the Bieb. That either man still has any sort of career in hiphop after this mystifies me.

14. Never Let You Go

Usher finally brings in another producer that doesn’t suck. This sounds like an 8701 outtake, which makes sense as former Jermaine Dupri protégé Brian-Michael Cox worked on that album too.

15. Overboard (feat. Jessica Jarrell)

Because of Justin’s androgynous voice a female counterpart is rather redundant.

16. Eenie Meenie (feat. Sean Kingston)

Sean sounds better over this bullshit dance-pop beat than Justin does but he still doesn’t sound good.

17. Up

Indeed, we can go nowhere but up. If I had a cent for every “shawty” on this album I could repay the current US public debt. Although I’d rather start a playboy mansion-franchise on the moon.

18. That Should Be Me

Well, My Worlds is finally over. I think I caught diabetes during the whole process of writing this review.

Best songs
Baby, U Smile, Never Let You Go

Concluding

Well, I definitely feel I have earned the right to bitch on mr. Bieber since I just heard his entire fucking album. And, ow it sucked already. This is definitely Canada’s shittiest export product ever. More sugary than Céline Dion, more annoyingly catchy than Nickelback and faker than Pam Anderson’s tits. And some p find the nerve to compare this guy to the young Michael Jackson? The fucking nerve of todays youth… If anything Bieber is the new Hanson (google Hmmmbob if you are too young to remember) rolled up in one person. What I must point out that this isn’t meant for me. This is for twelve-year-old girls like that Drake and Josh show. It’s ridiculously corny but that’s what young kids like. So basically me listening to this is like pouring a bottle Tabasco empty into my asshole. I could’ve known it would not be a very pleasant an experience. Why then write about the guy when the point is obvious to everyone? Because you all took him so motherfucking seriously. That said while I don’t like his little girl voice, it does hit all the right notes and while this music is soulless it is impeccaby produced. I do believe Bieber has potential to become less annoying as he matures and may even become someone who’s not annoying to listen to at all. And besides his voice, image and music fit the purpose they were made for perfectly so as such My Worlds is a success. And he is getting kids into music so kudo’s for that.

Recommendations

Adults should leave this shit alone like it’s crack, but for their twelve-year-old children it’s okay (that reads awkward when typed out like that).