"Maroon 5’s music can seem frustratingly opaque if engaged as a series of songs packaged together on an album. Locating the emotional core of V is pointless, akin to searching for enlightenment on a bottle of musk. While a lyric (from “New Love”) like “If I ever let you down / Forgive me / Forgive me, now / Would it kill you to forgive me, now?” might signify pathos in a different setting, coming from Levine, it is a repetitive, hectoring bleat searching mindlessly for a hook, like a shark stalking swimmers’ legs. But on the radio, Maroon 5’s malleability has clearly been beneficial. Pop stars are exalted but ultimately weighed down by personae that set the parameters for their subsequent work. Meanwhile, a relatively anonymous pap act like Maroon 5 is free to move into whichever realm proves most conducive for continued sustenance. As a blandly handsome and properly credentialed Caucasian male personality, Levine has the privilege of fading in and out of every corner of popular consciousness, always seen but never quite remembered. He can guest on a Kanye West track, contribute to a televised Beatles tribute, and pal around with a good ol’ boy like Blake Shelton and elicit the same dispassionate reaction from the audience. Little is expected from Levine beyond the filling of space between icons and the circuses that accompany them. And Levine always delivers the precise amount of what little is expected of him."
This whole thing is spot-on.
via Status Bro: The Inauthentic Authenticity of Maroon 5