‘Red Pill Blues’ album review

Has Maroon 5 released their revolutionary album?

Red Pill Blues album review

Ashleigh Tain, Editor-in-Chief

What do you think when you hear Maroon 5? The smooth agility of Adam Levine’s voice? Songs that remind you of your past self? The timeless sounds of fluid beats and retro tunes? Or maybe the fact that Maroon 5 isn’t timeless at all, possibly because their hits always make their way to mainstream radio?

Needless to say, Maroon 5 derives their signature touch from funky anthems and upbeat energy. And like always, the beats always parallel with Levine’s acoustic, mellow vocals. The band, as a whole, fluidly work together to deliver a powerful combination of smooth, yet sharp tenors and warm, persistent percussion. All of this was seen in their latest album, Red Pill Blues, released on Nov. 3.

Over the summer, “Cold” and “Don’t Wanna Know” gave us first tastes of the album.They were efficient as catchy tunes. Both recycle the same style of sporadic percussions and warm grooves. Overall, not significantly impressive, but they did serve as satisfying summer songs.

A great appeal to the album is the volume of collaborations; 6 out of 15 of their songs featured a variety of artists. Hip-Hop and R&B artists, SZA, Future, Kendrick Lamar, and A$AP Rocky and pop mainstream artist Julia Michaels make an appearance in the album. Most interestingly,  LunchMoney Lewis, who hasn’t emerged in mainstream since our 2015 summer of “Bills”.

The album opener was “Best 4 U” where we are serenaded by a wider vocal range of Levine when he shifts from deep, monotone to his smooth trebles.

Amid all the classic tunes that serve as reminiscent to their pop rock theme, “Lips On You” and “Bet My Heart” expose Maroon 5’s most intimate instrumentals. “Lips On You” is a very immersing song, as it opens with a crescendo of soft and long beats and gradually incorporates a variety of staccato, mellow and stretched, suave beats. Levine’s voice is accompanied with a harmony of vocals and they work together to pull the listener into a wave-like trance. On the other hand, “Bet My Heart” and “Girls Like You” has an opposite effect, playing with raw acoustic chords that prominently echo among lighter beats. “Bet My Heart” especially resembles the warm rhythms of Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran.

The most versatile song, including a balanced amount of modern instrumentals and reminiscent percussion, is “Denim Jacket”. In the middle of the album lies “Closure” which is Maroon 5’s first primarily instrumental song with 7 minutes of pure brass and percussion.