Maroon 5’s ‘Payphone’ Featuring Wiz Khalifa

12 May

It seems a lifetime since the hit single ‘This Love‘ was dominating the airwaves alongside ‘She Will Be Loved‘, however when compared to the latest chart topper, ‘Moves Like Jagger‘, it becomes all too apparent how long ago it actually was. Apart from the distinct voice of front-man Adam Levine, it is hard to recognise the American pop-rock band that is Maroon 5. Putting aside the punk-inspired guitars and drums of the alternative scene, Maroon 5 have adopted a more fluffy sound filled with pretty, dancing synths typical of pop music favoured by dance-clubs. ‘Moves Like Jagger‘ propelled Maroon 5 into the mainstream scene as a pop band, and not just because it featured pop icon, Christiana Agularia, but because it is a safe and catchy tune. The latest single to be revealed, the first off their new album ‘Overexposed‘, is titled ‘Payphone‘ and features rap artist Wiz Khalifa; the track is bound for the same success as ‘Moves Like Jagger‘ in terms of its catchy pop-foundations, but the subject matter returns to Levine’s bitterness towards past lovers.

We are now an age dominated by smart/mobile phones and debit cards and so the title and opening line “I’m at a payphone trying to call home/All of my change I’ve spent on you” appears a little odd. Critics have felt it is a peculiar and outdated choice of imagery but I feel it is not without purpose; simply it gives a nostalgic touch showing that Levine finds it difficult to move on without crying over an age-old heartache. The lyrics to the song are pretty basic ballad with an attractive flow, especially throughout the strong chorus that has a great pop-sing-along feel to it, but there is a shcok-factor line that is a little distasteful; “All those fairytales are full of shit/One more fucking love song, I’ll be sick“. The swearing only outlines the bitterness that is a common companion of Levine but in all honesty, it just looks like they’re trying too hard to get back into the rebellious swing of rock ‘n’ roll. Or maybe the hip-hop scene perhaps? Khalifa’s opening line to his guest verse only intensifies the vibe, “Man, fuck that shit. This verse makes the rest of the tune appear less bitter than originally thought as the rapper exudes arrogance, displaying an ability to move-on without a care. there is nothing really striking about the guest verse  – other than the charming use of the English language – and could go by without being noticed. The musical structuring is a little more thoughtful and tasteful than the lyrics. It is built up around a steady and infectious hip-hop beat with a piano string below provide a very pretty sound that replaces the bitterness with an almost uplifting vibe. The chorus sees a mixture of guitars and bass that reminds us that Maroon 5 is in fact a band and not just Levine’s solo-show; it is reminiscent of the rock flavour but not enough to overcome the catchy a clean pop feel.

Despite the vulgar lyrics and bitter attitude, ‘Payphone‘ has still done well in the american charts – probably down to the musical base and genral bounciness. Currently, I cannot find any release information for the single or the album for us Brits but I am sure no one will have any complaints about waiting a while; especially as ‘Moves Like Jagger‘ is still lurking in the charts.

Here is the lyric video for you (the music video made me cringe too much):

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