*This is just my opinion. If you feel differently about this song. That is OK.
After releasing the dreadfully bland tropical-house top-10 hit 'Don't Wanna Know', which featured a surprisingly bad verse from Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, last October, pop band Maroon 5 have followed up with a new single called 'Cold'. And just like 'Don't Wanna Know', 'Cold' includes a guest rap verse, this time from Atlanta rapper/singer Future.
*Before continuing on this review, click here for my 'Don't Wanna Know' song review.
With 'Cold', Maroon 5 have officially burned all bridges of any sort of rock semblance that the former California band once had. Their new song has been described by lead singer Adam Levine as being R&B influenced and will apparently be the main genre indicator for the group's next album, which is set to be released sometime this year.
Now let me be clear, many bands have been able to incorporate elements of R&B and soul into their music and have been able to put together very good results. (See older acts like The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Hall & Oates, or newer indie acts like The Neighbourhood and Haim).
But their has to be some kind of passion and some kind of soul coming from the lyrics, the vocals and the instrumentation and they are all completely absent on 'Cold'.
|Be honest. Do you know who is in Maroon 5|
besides Adam Levine?
These lyrics are juvenile and make the song sound entirely one-sided. Can relationships end up one-sided before they flame out? Sure, but I feel like Levine is leaving out examples of what he has failed to bring to the relationship that made his girl act as cold as she has.
And then we get to the instrumentation... if you can call it that.
I have said previously that Maroon 5 was at their best, as a band, with their first three bands. And while 2012's 'Overexposed' and 2014's 'V' were examples of the band officially selling out for more glossy, synthetic, Top-40 ready pop overtones, there were still moments where you could hear the other instruments and remember that this is a band.
'Don't Wanna Know' was the beginning of where I could no longer here any immediate contributions from Maroon 5 band members outside of Levine.
'Cold' takes it to a whole new level. The song takes such a minimalistic approach in the verses that it's Levine trying to sing in front of what tries to come off as a hazy, atmospheric backdrop. Even though a nice swell builds up into the chorus with a staccato rhythm and a pretty sounding string section anchoring the last few couplets of the chorus, you forget that this is a band.
It's the kind of instrumentation that you could pull off of something like Adobe Audacity... and not in a good way.
Levine is okay vocally, I guess.
He sure has sounded a lot worse in other songs over the past few years. But his vocals sound so processed and so layered that they sound almost monotonous. Even with the falsettos, which is the exact opposite feeling you want to have when you hear a falsetto.
There's no passion or soul coming from his voice, which is incredible to believe because he had passion and soul vocally earlier in his career with Maroon 5. You could give this song to any other male pop singer and I think that not only would it still be a hit, but the other singer would actually be able to sell what he is singing.
As for Future, his verse doesn't really make sense lyrically, but you don't listen to Future for lyrics. People listen to Future to get hyped.
|The instrumentation is too tame|
for Future to provide any real impact.
Photo by: Spin.com
And they get hyped through his punishing and defiant beats to go along with his drug-fueled bars of hedonism. Not surprisingly though, he comes across far more tame on a pop song like this and his influence is pushed far into the background.
His chants of 'So fuck this cold world' are a series of flat insults that I think are directed toward the girl of his affection, but he declared earlier in his verse that he first wants to stay with girl, but then later also wants to give her space. Future is the same guy who in his 2014 song 'I Won' compared his at-the-time girlfriend Ciara, to a trophy. A reward for his conquest. Charming, bruh.
I gave a fairly harsh review to 'Don't Wanna Know' at the time for witnessing Maroon 5 embrace chasing trends and losing the aspects of what made them unique. But at least it was mostly harmless from a lyrical standpoint and had a decent enough tropical groove.
'Cold' is not fun.
'Cold' showcases Levine and Future painting their lovers in a completely unflattering light without sharing all sides of the respective story and Maroon 5 have given up on rock and have move toward a new R&B/pop sound.
If you want to evolve as a band, it's okay to subtly add different influences. But not if it gets rid of the band's entire identity to begin with. And without being able to notice any of the other members in the band besides the lead singer, I now can no longer call this band Maroon 5.
From now on, they will be known as 'The Adam Levine Experience.'
The decent swell in the chorus allows 'Cold' to get some kind of a rating, but this song is awful and marks the unfortunate debut era of The Adam Levine Experience.
RATING: 1 Out Of 5 (*)
Do you like 'Cold'? Love it? Hate it? And why?
Let me know by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.