Maroon 5 – Jordi
Maroon 5 raised considerable hype in 2002 with Songs About Jane, an assertive debut album of groovy, racy radio pop. Jordi, their seventh studio release, is equally heated and infectious in sound, but is the fizzling remains of a band who have hitched onto the broader-stroked trends, to the detriment of the creativity and charisma with which they entered the scene. The album is named after Jordan Feldstein, band manager as well as childhood friend of frontman Adam Levine, who passed in 2017. Maroon 5 have played into commercial success for a while now, especially since their funk-esque swagger swerved into shallower realms with 2014 hit Sugar, and Jordi very much sells its itself as music suited to a club. Hosting an impressive array of collaborations, the album in fact feels like a party that might never end.
Their lyricism has never stood out as particularly novel, and they seem to be heavily leaning on a crowded compilation of guests to boost a sound that struggles to spark interest on its own. It’s difficult to distinguish highlights from a succession of beat drops and dance synths, however, Convince Me Otherwise, with the glossy vocals of H.E.R and fuzzy 80s ambience, winds up quite refreshing. Whether it’s actually a strong song, or rather just a welcome detour, is up for debate. Beautiful Mistakes is a lustful opener, sweetened by Megan Thee Stallion, and is the strongest example of the superficial melody hooks the band churn out with machine-like persistence. Lost doesn’t lend itself to longevity, with the same three words padding out the majority of the song in breathless cycles, but Lovesick proves Levine hasn’t lost his propensity for a bit of schmaltz.
The mention of Stevie Nicks in Remedy inspires all kinds of anticipation, but they deny her the chance to add any personality by auto-tuning her into oblivion. Memories, a single that received significant chart recognition in 2020, is double-dosed, with an added remixed version featuring the deceased Nipsey Hussle. The track is a tribute to Feldstein, though it doesn’t aim for originality; it’s hard to ignore the chord progression replicated from Pachelbel’s Canon in D, whether it’s intentional or not.
Maroon 5 have stuck around for a while, but such consistency cannot compensate for the banality of much of this new release. Levine’s nasal falsetto prevails, as if automated in songs that only find character in guest artists, who are scattered left, right and centre with confused purpose. Jordi is abundant with nondescript background beats, serving summer season textures and danceability on a loop. But it raises the question of whether pop ever actually progresses, especially when the same tropes return like the tides – people-pleasing, but certainly not impressing.
Jordi is released on 11th June 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Maroon 5’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Beautiful Mistakes ft. Megan Thee Stallion here: