The biggest problem with Maroon 5's fourth album, "Overexposed" (A&M/Octone), is that it starts out great.
"One More Night" succeeds at everything that so much of the rest of the album struggles with -- showing off singer Adam Levine's distinctive, upper-register vocals in a hip context with enough of a reggae-ish dance beat he can show off his Jagger-like moves. It's catchy and memorable and not at all cringe-inducing -- things that can't be said about the rest of the album.
Considering how popular Levine is on the singing competition "The Voice," his vocals better be on point and, for the most part, they are. However, too often, he is singing outdated cliches ("I'm at a payphone, trying to call home") or mismatched gibberish -- wasting the high-priced beats the band solicited from longtime Britney Spears hit-crafter Max Martin and go-to hired gun Ryan Tedder.
He ridiculously builds the dancey "Fortune Teller" around a chorus of "I don't know what to tell ya, I'm not a fortune teller." The weird put-down "Tickets" centers on "She's got tickets to her own show, but nobody wants to go-oh-oh."
Like the single "Payphone," which wastes a good melody on bad lyrics, he spoils a gorgeous potential anthem in "Love Somebody" with such tween-level lines as "I really wanna love somebody, I really wanna dance the night away."
All these clunkers make the album sound careless and rushed, like the band couldn't be bothered to focus on the tasks at hand. Instead of "Overexposed," they should have called it "Overextended."
MAROON 5 "Overexposed"
BOTTOM LINE A misguided, wasted opportunity