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LABEL: A&M Records RELEASE DATE: May 11, 2007 GENRE: Synthpop
// review by Jeff

It really makes me wonder what to think of the mainstream...

Ah, mainstream music, how you cause my eyebrows to slope downwards in unpleasant emotion. In general, I can't connect with mainstream radio station output; there are so many artists out there who are cranking out corporate-churned trash solely for the purpose of earning profits for record companies. Then again, I can't believe how many people I've already heard say that. It's become far too cliché NOT to like popular music. Hmmm... so what does that have to do with Maroon 5? Well, it is my opinion that this band quickly gained stardom with their radio-friendly material and now has become one of those groups who serves more as a moneymaker for their record company than as artists in their own right. (Yeah, I was going somewhere with that.) Their previous hits, "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved", were massively overplayed and massively commercial-sounding, and so their new sound (which occasionally has been declared as a sort of "metrosexual" style of music) is being pushed to its maximum potential. So would it stand to reason that their next superhot single, "Makes Me Wonder", would follow the same pattern as its predecessors?

The title track is the first on the list and soon became as consistently played as the other Maroon 5 singles. Makes Me Wonder is a cheery little sprig of synth-pop, mixed with a few rock elements, although the synthesizer seems to take over sometimes. The song, from what I gather, is about two people (one of them being Levine) not having enough time for each other and wondering whether or not they should really be together. The chorus is rather catchy and the sometimes over-effeminate vocals of lead singer Adam Levine does not seem to be particularly annoying at all; he gives it an 80s flair! The only truly questionable element is the use of the F-bomb several times, all of which appear in the same line, "And it really makes me wonder if I ever gave a f*** about you". That wasn't necessary. It had to be censored on television and on the radio anyhow. If you enjoyed the previous hits by Maroon 5, this one will not disappoint either -- in fact, it may be even a little better, but that's just my opinion, simply because of increased synthesizer use.

And then, just to please the masses, there are two non-album tracks on the single as well. The Way I Was is a bit more laid-back, but still sounds rich and full, especially with the effective use of piano. This one wouldn't feel too out of place in a set at a chilled beach party. It doesn't quite have "hit-worthy" energy about it, but I can't complain about this song much. It's actually somewhat average, compared to the title track. Hmmm. On the flipside is Story, which sounds a bit like one of those ballads by indie rock bands. The guitar is much more pronounced in the foreground here, giving it a more rock-oriented flavour as opposed to what we've heard in "Makes Me Wonder". It's tough to believe it's by the same band! However, Levine's vocals are a dead giveaway because they are so distinct. Of the three songs here, "Story" is probably the least memorable of the three, but I can tell that they put a good deal of effort into its writing and production.

This single proves that the men of Maroon 5 are capable of writing songs with a considerable amount of variety and flexibility. Granted, not all of the songs presented here will be played on the radio, but fans of Maroon 5's previous discography will not be able to shun this release. It may be mainstream, but the two B-Sides are a good indication that some good can come from a seemingly marketed band. Maroon 5 may receive some flak for the radio-friendly work they have been putting out, but there's more to this quintet than meets the eye.


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