One time, not too long ago, I turned on the radio in my car. A Maroon 5 song was playing, so I promptly switched to another station, on which a different Maroon 5 song was playing. I switched to a third station, which was playing yet another Maroon 5 song. So I turned off the radio altogether and ruminated on how Maroon 5 has both degenerated and taken over the radio.
In 2003, I heard “Harder to Breathe” on the radio and loved its alt rock sound and especially the lyrics, which fit my angsty teenage mood. So it remained one of my favorite songs for about a year, until “She Will Be Loved” began to be played on the radio. My then-boyfriend and I claimed it as “our song” because every high school couple has to have their “song,” and it remained “our song” until we broke up, and I put my Songs About Jane album away.
Sometime between “Harder to Breathe” and “She Will Be Loved,” another song, “This Love,” came out. The sound of the song was infectious, but the lyrics were so sexually charged that it was difficult to listen to the song without blushing. The video was probably the raciest I had seen at that point in my life, so much so that I began to lose interest in Maroon 5 as a whole.
I didn’t really think about Maroon 5 again until 2010, when “Misery” was on the radio. I’d consider it one of Maroon 5’s better songs (and the video is hilarious), but it’s too much like their other stuff to really stand out. Then the cloying whistling of that horrid earworm “Moves Like Jagger” played ad nauseam on every radio station, even the so-called “family-friendly” ones.
A bunch of similarly overplayed songs followed: “Payphone,” “One More Night,” “Animals,” “Sugar,” (etc., etc.) and finally, we reach the latest single, “Feelings,” which is everything I love and hate about this band: a catchy beat that gets stuck in your head, Adam Levine’s falsetto, and lyrics that have everything to do with sex and nothing to do with love, which will basically guarantee that it will be played on the radio until my brain caves in and leave me wondering how this band has remained consistently popular for 12 years.
In my mind, Maroon 5 was better in the 90s when they were Kara’s Flowers, a humble post-grunge/pop-punk band that sounded a little too much like Green Day or Weezer to get played on the radio. But that alt rock era ended with “Harder to Breathe.” There’s no turning back now, and it sounds like Maroon 5 has effectively taken over the radio.
tl;dr: If you hear a Maroon 5 song on the radio (or anything with Adam Levine singing), don’t bother turning the station. Just shut the radio off entirely.
10/15/15: A couple days after I wrote this post, my coworker’s cell phone rang. The ringtone was “Payphone.” I had to try really hard to stop myself from laughing out loud.