Friday, August 10, 2007

Won't Go Home Without You

Song: Won't Go Home Without You
Artist: Maroon 5
Album: It Won't Be Soon Before Long

There are guilty pleasures that come in a wide variety of colors… mostly they come by way of goofy, catchy tunes, that you might be embarrassed to be caught singing along to in your car. Most of these come from the 70’s (ABBA, KC and the Sunshine Band) but the 90’s had their fair share of stuff that shouldn’t be heard through headphones on the subway (Ace of Base, C + C Music Factory.) But also there is the hipster guilty pleasure… the stuff that if your fellow Bjork fan heard you listening to you would be mocked, laughed at, and may possibly never live down. Because you know, we’re all assholes.

Every once in a while something totally popular gets the hipster stamp of approval. Kelly’s “Since You Been Gone” could be heard alongside the latest TV on the Radio in the dive bars of the East Village and Williamsburg because they could listen like, you know… ironically. For me, I can profess my love and defend the Paris Hilton record because a) I actually think it’s pretty good and b) because everyone hates her. Now, I could never do the same for say Celine Dion because a) she is wildly popular with soccer moms and b) she totally sucks.

And so now my Maroon 5 dilemma…

See, it’s easy to say you can’t stand Maroon 5. They are super popular (especially with said soccer mom’s,) their music is an unassuming mix of white boy soul and sickly sweet syrupy ballads, and the lead singer kinda seems like a total tool. “This Love” was a bubble gum vaguely disco one-off it seemed, and ballads like “She Will Be Loved” and “Sunday Morning” are the essence of what is adult contemporary drivel. They’re like Stevie Wonder if… actually, I can’t even finish that sentence.

So yes one time I performed “This Love” drunk during karaoke, and I downloaded the song… it was a hit at parties, what can you do. But I would NOT buy their multi platinum debut album. That would be too far, I would lose my hipster cred. So what do I do? I buy their sophomore album… maybe in the hopes that it would be a huge flop, as so many second records are when a band hits it big to start, and then my cred could stay in tact. This is absolutely ridiculous, but hey… at least I’m being honest about it. I really loved “Makes Me Wonder” which at first seemed like a “This Love” re-tread… but I actually grew to like it better. (Can they hear it through my headphones on the street?)

Making all of this worse is the fact that “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” (give me a break with that title!) is actually pretty bloody good. It keeps the ballads to a minimum, and the upbeat stuff is fun without being annoying, the songs are varied, and work great through headphones, on the beach, at a house party, and I would guess… in the stadium. And worse yet… it’s a huge hit, as was the debut single. How have they done this?!

It’s hard to stay relevant and popular in the world of pop but it seems Maroon 5 have done it. And not only that, based on this album… I think they’re the new Police. I’m not the first one to say this, and before you start screaming sacrilege, think about it… they are white boys that make disco/reggae-lite pop songs about girls, love, with a semi-seedy but overall acceptable creepiness. The comparison is deepened I suppose by “Won’t Go Home Without You” a song I am absolutely shocked I liked so much. The main riff is really a rip off of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” it’s a semi-ballad, and yet… I can’t get enough. I am usually apposed to this type of stuff but I have fallen for it. Guilty pleasure indeed!

While I figured that “Won’t Go Home Without You” was a shoe-in for the second single, they chose “Wake Up Call” which is an okay song, but certainly not the best of what the album has to offer. I think “Won’t” has future massive hit written all over it… I couldn’t stop listening to it when I first got the record and it still hasn’t gotten old on me. As a whole, if you like Maroon 5 even a little, you’ll be totally pleased with the full record. I like it more than I’d like to admit.


The video for "Wake Up Call"

As in most of their video's, this one is racy with the lead singer Adam Levine unconvincingly romping around with pretty model types. It's starting to look like homeboy is ready for his close-up.

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