Maroon 5’s ‘Red Pill Blues’ Makes Blue Pill Appealing

2.0/5 STARS

On Maroon 5’s latest album, frontman Adam Levine screams, “Help me out.” They definitely need it. Maroon 5 dropped their sixth studio album, “Red Pill Blues,” on Nov. 3. The album signifies the conclusion of the band’s gradual shift from a pop rock band of the first half of the 2000s to a washed-up pure pop group of the late 2010s.

Of course, one can never judge a work by its cover, but in this case the tacky and childish album artwork is hard to ignore. Each of the seven members (yes, seven—it takes a few times counting to make sure they didn’t mess up while naming themselves) is photographed using a different snapchat filter. It’s as if there was no artistic interpretation put into the cover, let alone the music. The album cover is actually a perfect way to show how the group is trying to stay modern but looking like fools doing so.

Regardless of the cover artwork, “Red Pill Blues” is different to listen to. One must put oneself in the mentality to listen to pop music, of course, but even that doesn’t make it much better. It is undeniable that Adam Levine (the only important one) has a beautiful voice, but this is album is like listening to the first 15 tracks of a 12-year-old’s playlist.

The band has, without a doubt, sold out. Maybe music-industry complexities are to blame, but Maroon 5 clearly lost their artistic vision over the years and have turned to trying to create songs for radio play, not the message behind it. Taking a look from “Songs About Jane” to “Red Pill Blues,” it is as if they were created by two completely different bands. This is not necessarily a problem, but in this case Maroon 5’s transition to something new wasn’t a transition to something good.

The tracklist is fairly weak. The premise of every single song has to do with getting a girl, losing a girl, or wanting that girl back. “Wait,” “Lips on You,” and “Girls Like You” are honestly just a distasteful continuation of one another.

While the tracklist is weak, the album does have notable features with good verses, though they couldn’t really save the album. The glorious SZA features on “What Lovers Do,” and while this is one of the better tracks, it still makes no impact on the rest of the album. Other features like A$AP Rocky, as well as Kendrick Lamar and Future, on bonus-track singles “Don’t Wanna Know” and “Cold,” respectively, were there to give a “cool factor” to the music and did the opposite. Unhelpfully, the songs Future and Kendrick were on wore out their welcome this summer with excessive radio play.

The album does not say much. It isn’t cohesive, and that’s really the problem. It’s just several pop songs thrown together in hopes of making a quick dollar. Listening to this album didn’t create thought or provoke anger; it really just caused frustration because of the waste of time listening. It will go down as another forgotten album, and show how far the group has fallen since “Songs about Jane.”

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