Call Adam Levine a pop star, the kind of contemporary globally successful artist who appears as a guest on other huge artists' singles (or vice versa with latest Megan Thee Stallion collaboration Beautiful Mistakes) but Maroon 5 (opens in new tab) were and still are a band. Which will make his recent comments in a Zane Lowe Apple Music interview somewhat perplexing for some of us.
Maroon 5 first broke through with their 2002 album Song About Jane and Levine told Lowe he had been looking back at that era of music with his young daughter when he reached a realisation. “It’s funny how you go back and re-watch like these old videos, and listen to these old songs, and I’ve been playing her a lot of Avril Lavigne records. Like, dude, I’m With You is like — it’s, yeah, that gives you tears,” he said. But that wasn't the big realisation.
James Valentine talks guitars, influences and Maroon 5's album, V (opens in new tab)
“I feel like there aren’t any bands anymore, you know?” Levine continued, heading on a tangent from Levine. “That’s the thing that makes me kind of sad, is that there were just bands… there’s no bands anymore, and I feel like they’re a dying breed.”
Say what? Well before we go any further, Levine does in fact note that yes, there are bands now. What he seems to be referring to is bands in the mainstream.
I mean, there still are plenty of bands,” Levine rightly conceded to Lowe. “And maybe they’re not in the limelight quite as much, or in the pop limelight, but I wish there could be more of those around.”
Does he have a point? It's hard to think of many examples of guitar bands who have broken into huge 'pop' mainstream success - or the kind of success Levine possibly holds as a benchmark next to his own. But there's a much bigger argument as to why that is that has little to do with the quality of music being made by bands and more to do with whether mainstream acceptance is even something worth attaining for musician these days, especially judging by how far Maroon 5 have moved away from rock in their recorded output.
Despite that, the former judge of the US Voice TV show thinks breakup song Beautiful Mistake that the band co-wrote with Blackbear sounds like old Blink-182 (opens in new tab) – a band that infiltrated the mainstream a few years before his own.
“What a lot of people don’t realise about Blink-182 specifically, because they are who we were talking about, they wrote great songs,” he said. “Those were great songs.”
Some of us can get onboard with that at least?