Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Maroon 5 – Sugar

The voice of a generation. Or at least The Voice, around for generations.

Alfred Soto: I’m running out of adjectives to describe Adam Levine’s post-2010 Smarm-a-Thon, but I swear, this time I hear a difference: the quiet organ swells, the bass ripples. The dollops of syrup he pours on choruses become little pieces of sweetness in the verses. Keep your hands to yourself though, boy.

Micha Cavaseno: It’s been a while since these guys have been in yacht rock mode, and I’m glad to see ’em back, because it suits them like a glove.

Iain Mew: I don’t put sugar in my tea because it doesn’t taste of anything else afterwards. In this case the sugar is Adam Levine’s falsetto, and the groove of the final ten seconds is a brief taste that there might have been some nice tea in there somewhere.

Katherine St Asaph: The problem with current-day Maroon 5 isn’t what’s happened to Adam Levine’s voice or his band. It’s their self-satisfied slide into awards-show unctuosity.

John Seroff: It’s not that an off-brand Chromeo pastiche is a bad fit for America’s favorite non-cover cover band; this is so much in Levine’s lane you’d be hard pressed to figure out how they flub the landing. Couple of problems: the pace is too slow by about a third, the bassline runs out of steam and ideas before the chorus, the lyrics tatter under the slightest scrutiny. It’s more a mid-80’s action-drama TV theme than a radio hit proper, but given “Sugar”s predictable chart success on the back of a staged kerfuffle over a staged kerfuffle, perhaps the time is ripe for a Riptide reboot?

David Sheffieck: The video is an inadvertently great synecdoche for the song: a mix of genuine and pre-planned footage that manages to be both thrillingly touching (what a sweet surprise for the couples getting married!) and bizarrely tone-deaf (what if they didn’t want their weddings to be viral footage?) “Sugar” exists in a similar limbo, suspended between falsetto vocals that recall the best of what Pharrell and Bruno Mars have done recently and a stagnant beat that wouldn’t be out of place coming from the most generic wedding band in the phonebook.

Mo Kim: Here we have Adam Levine crashing people’s weddings, performing his usual puppy-eyed horndog act to the squeals of many a middle-aged fangirl. Whether this stunt was performed with anybody’s consent is not questioned, but of course nobody on either side of the camera was asking: the makers of the video didn’t because why would anybody ever not want to see Adam Levine, and the people this prank is supposedly played on don’t because OMG IT’S ADAM LEVINE SINGING AT MY WEDDING!!!! I fault the artists involved for their assumption that their reputation and status entitles them to intrude on private spaces of intimacy and love, all for the noble cause of 115 million YouTube views. The irony, though, is that the public is proving them right: I mean, here I am listening to this stupid song for the sixth time today, even though Adam sounds like he’s singing through a bendy straw and he probably stole that beat from Katy last Friday when she was too drunk to notice. “Sugar” isn’t the wedding song we need, but I fear it may be the one we deserve.

Will Adams: I suspect that this might actually be an early demo of Katy Perry’s “Birthday” before they added the SNL band, but that doesn’t take away from this enjoyable swath of poly-blend disco, nor does it diminish the fact that I, amazingly, do not hate a Maroon 5 song (apart from the red velvet line, which, ew).

Scott Mildenhall: As the months continue to pass, Olly Murs’ “Wrapped Up” sounds more and more ebullient. Levine and pals could do well to note that, because while operating on similar lines, this does not convey the mood alleged by its lyrics. The guitar carries unnerving Katy Perry connotations, and such front-and-centre over-reliance on falsetto is not ingratiating, but the main problem is a lack of risk that leaves it tolerable but forgettable.

Thomas Inskeep: The best Maroon 5 single to come down the pike since at least 2007. That said, Adam Lambert could sing the fuck outta this. Adam Levine can’t sing the fuck outta anything.

Reader average: [4.25] (4 votes)

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3 Responses to “Maroon 5 – Sugar”

  1. Wait the video also rips off “Birthday” wtf???

  2. I does seem from the video to be incredibly important to Adam Levine that everyone understands that everyone loves Adam Levine.

  3. the remix w/ nicki is the GOAT