Friday, October 28th, 2016

Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar – Don’t Wanna Know

Let’s put Kendrick Lamar’s future kids through college, shall we?

Alfred Soto: The synthetic spring effect and the lead singer’s decent falsetto are the only virtues in The Adam Levine 1’s new single. Whatever else their singles had more sonic spritz than a beat Desiigner would reject.

Katie Gill: The most recent episode of the phenomenal podcast Switched on Pop rightfully pointed out that SO MANY SONGS out right now have this same sort of bouncy, choppy rhythm for the instrumentations no matter what the vocals sound like. “Don’t Wanna Know” is one of these songs. If it had come out a few months ago, it would have sounded fresh and interesting but alas, it’s just another middle of the road song hitching its wagon to current trends a few weeks too late.

Natasha Genet Avery: I was doing some background research (has it really been 14 years since Songs About Jane!?) and was struck by the aptness of Billboard’s characterization of Maroon 5 as the “most reliable hit-making group on the planet.” Maroon 5 hasn’t done anything ambitious in the past decade, but has risen in prominence by being safely behind the curve (Exhibit A: releasing a ~tropical~ jam in October). “Don’t Wanna Know” is gonna get played at every spring wedding despite no one actually requesting it from the DJ — it’s pleasant, easy filler. I’m a little surprised that Kendrick’s biggest post-To Pimp a Butterfly appearances have been verses for Sia and Maroon 5, but I guess dropping into rote pop songs for 25 seconds is his equivalent of a 401(k) contribution. Reliably average all around.

Will Adams: I’d chalk this up to poor timing, seeing as some other tropical house song with this exact vocal rhythm (four sixteenth notes + three dotted eighths) got big right before this. It’s hard to be charitable, though, when Adam Levine’s voice grafted onto this Snapchat screenshot production makes as little sense as Kendrick Lamar’s paperclipped presence.

Edward Okulicz: This tropical house number feels dinky, as if composed in an hour over a cheap keyboard in a dressing room or something. It’s one thing to be less good at this stuff than Bieber, but to come across as both a bigger douche and a bigger bore, that’s achievement and lack of achievement in one.

Claire Biddles: It pains me to say this, but Maroon 5 definitely knows its way around a hook, and Adam Levine knows how to deliver a charismatic performance when given the right material. Which is why I’m disappointed in “Don’t Wanna Know” — its chorus especially is meandering and aimless where songs like “Moves Like Jagger” or “This Love” were so tight. Going through the motions for the first single from a new album seems like a waste. Even Kendrick’s 10 second cameo feels thoughtless and tacked-on.

Scott Mildenhall: One day someone will figure out a functioning Matoma/haematoma pun, and no matter how bad it is, it will still be too good for this lukewarm mope. Adam Levine is presumably supposed to be protesting too much, yet it really does sound like he doesn’t care. Everything about this is so monotonous that listening to it is like drinking flat Lilt, and the dregs of a set-aside empty can at that.

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5 Responses to “Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar – Don’t Wanna Know”

  1. I think that TECHNICALLY Kendrick Lamar phoning it in on Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” remix is also post To Pimp A Butterfly (as the remix isn’t actually on 1989 itself), but I might have my dates wrong. Anyway, add that to the Kendrick Lamar Wants To Pay Off His Mortgage song list.

  2. ahh good point I had somehow blocked that one from my memory

  3. One of the enigmas of watching the Voice (other than the obvious ones, like ‘why am I watching this?’) is the light it sheds on Maroon 5’s music. As a coach on the show, Adam Levine seems to have at-least-decent, though fairly MOR, taste in pop and rock, and a sense for what makes a performance memorable. Anyway, I have a feeling that if one of his contestants wanted to do this song on the show, or really any recent Maroon 5 hit, he would rightly warn them that it wasn’t a good choice. I can only conclude that he doesn’t really care what his music sounds like.

  4. I mean he probably also has a script

  5. Well, that’s just absurd. It’s a REALITY show, hullo…. ;)