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LEVINE acknowledges that the new Maroon 5 album title is something of an inside joke — a wink at the Los Angeles-based band’s seeming omnipresence, particularly in the wake of Levine joining the cast of The Voice and the mega success of Moves Like Jagger.
“We get it — we’re overexposed,” Levine says with a laugh. “We’re just trying to preemptively go where the conversation is headed anyway. We figured we’d get there first.”
After a decade of activity in which the three-time Grammy-winning quintet has gone from playing at tiny LA clubs to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, this album captures Maroon 5’s decision to open itself up to risk.
“I feel like we’ve been standing on the edge of a cliff for a long time,” he says.
“We’re a band that’s always been close to being full-on pop, but that’s rooted in a lot of other things: Rock, soul, funk and more. Overexposed is the first time we’ve ever completely embraced the idea of making pop music — of making songs for the radio. We just said, ’Let’s not be afraid to do what we basically are’.”
The decision was more than a matter of mindset.
Moves Like Jagger marked the band’s entrance into the waters of co-writing but until then Levine and his bandmates had prided themselves on the fact that they handled all of the oufit’s music in-house.
The result, Maroon 5’s fourth studio set that contains collaborations with longtime hitmaker Max Martin who served as the album’s executive producer, with additional tracks produced by Benny Blanco (Katy Perry, Gym Class Heroes) and Ryan Tedder (Beyonce, One Republic).
“We gravitated toward certain people for various reasons,” Levine says, pointing to Maroon 5’s 2010 tour with One Republic as an example.
“But when you get down to it, there’s a reason that the best writers in the world are as successful as they are. And there’re a lot of people on this record who had never been in a room together until we put them there.
We were into making these strange concoctions that don’t exist in the rules.”
Indeed, cuts like the electro-reggae One More Night and lead single Payphone with a guest verse by rapper Wiz Khalifa, demonstrate how difficult it is to categorise Maroon 5’s music.
The band worked surprisingly quickly on Overexposed, which despite the A-list hook-ups arrives just 21 months after Hands All Over, its 2010 collaboration with producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange.
“We’d taken a really long time to make our albums in the past,” Levine admits. “But I’m done over analysing and making things more complicated than they need to be. If a song is great, it’s great. Be done with it.”
Of all the band’s albums, says Levine, Overexposed feels “both most and least like Maroon 5. There’re lots of traces of the past, but it also hints at a new idea,” he explains.
“More than anything I think this record says that it’s always cool to try — that you should always be willing to take a step beyond whatever feels comfortable.”PR Worldwide
Maroon 5 Overexposed Concert Live In Malaysia
When: Sept 20, 9pm
Where: Shah Alam Stadium
Tickets: RM195 to RM485. Available from tomorrow.
Tel 03-7493 3010. Details at www.ticketpro.com.my.