When I first heard the latest Maroon 5 album, Hands All Over, I only liked one of the songs and was generally pretty disappointed. However, according to my iTunes playlist, I’ve now listened to the album 11 times, so I guess this is what they call “a grower.”

Although their second release couldn’t live up to the standard set by debut Songs About Jane, Maroon 5 seem to have found their footing again with Hands All Over. Adam Levine’s distinctive yelping vocal is as grating as ever, but somehow it works; and you just know the music wouldn’t be the same without it. The opener “Misery” mostly makes up for its lackluster verses with a superfunky chorus, and similiarly, the track that follows, “Give A Little More” has its moments but is overall pretty dull.

But tracks three through eight get good. Considering the charts these days are so often full of pop-rock bands that all sound pretty much the same, Maroon 5 have a funk/jazz influence in their songs subtly with offbeat rhythms or unusual chord progressions, and this sets them apart from their contemporaries. However, after this run of great songs, the album nosedives into dreariness again with the totally humdrum “Just A Feeling”, then “Runaway”, which is all right but not fantastic, and “Out Of Goodbyes”, which is kind of pretty but not very interesting.

“Hands All Over” closes on a higher note with the much more dramatic “No Curtain Call” which features a steady marching-style beat and is, on the whole, a reasonably decent song.

There are some great pop songs on this record, but they are unfortunately bulked out with filler to make an utterly hit-or-miss 14 track album. If Maroon 5 had been more selective with the track listing they could have had a super little EP or short album; but as it stands, it’s much too long and even the great songs can’t compensate for the feeble ones.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Misery
02. Give A Little More
03. Stutter
04. Don’t Know Nothing
05. Never Gonna Leave This Bed
06. I Can’t Lie
07. Hands All Over
08. How
09. Get Back In My Life
10. Just A Feeling
11. Runaway
12. Out Of Goodbyes
13. Last Chance
14. No Curtain Call

Run Time: 47:19
Release Date: 09.21.2010