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Review: Maroon 5, 'Hands All Over'

Maroon 5

Hands All Over


Posted 1:59pm on Wednesday, Sep. 22, 2010

Maroon 5 doesn't have anything left to prove.

With a handful of Grammys and more than 15 million albums sold around the world, Adam Levine and his bandmates have carved out and sustained an extremely successful career.

However, popularity doesn't necessarily translate to acceptance. There are many who flinch at the news of a new Maroon 5 album, dismissing the Los Angeles pop-rockers as radio-friendly lightweights.

Hands All Over, Maroon 5's latest long-player, will only rack up more fans, more sales and, likely, more irritated detractors -- particularly since it's extraordinarily difficult to find a weak track on the entire album.

Overseen by Robert "Mutt" Lange, the producer responsible for a sizable chunk of '80s FM gold, Maroon 5 strips its finely calibrated mixture of funk, pop, soul and rock to the bone, leaving little else besides irresistible hooks and Levine's high-octane falsetto. It's not hyperbole to suggest any one of these dozen songs could be smash hits -- album opener Misery has already lit up the charts -- which, given Maroon 5's already impressive radio track record, is saying something.

Hands All Over simply feels like it's made by a band bursting with confidence, unapologetically going for the jugular. The album also bridges the gap between the straightforward pop of Maroon 5's debut, Songs About Jane, and its funkier follow-up, It Won't Be Soon Before Long. Stirred into the quintet's sound are homages to some of Lange's '80s chart-topping comrades: the title track could be a Def Leppard cast-off, while Give a Little More echoes vintage Michael Jackson.

The only real stumble -- and, given its album-ending placement, it doesn't ruin much of what's come before -- is the band's collaboration with Lady Antebellum, Out of Goodbyes. Besides confirming that Lady Antebellum is about as country as Coldplay, it feels like an unnecessary concession to music-industry pressure.

For the preceding 11 tracks, Maroon 5 capably demonstrates its ability to deliver brisk pop gems with no one but themselves to rely on. They may have nothing left to prove, but you wouldn't know it from listening to Hands All Over.

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