There’s an elephant in the room sporting some excellent hair gel, so let’s acknowledge it and move on before we dive into Maroon 5’s performance on Saturday Night Live. People lo-ho-hoooooove to hate these guys, the falsetto-favoring, Voice-judging, badly tattooed frontman in particular. Adam Levine is despised for everything from his looks to his unabashed adoration for pop music and whatever color he decides he wants his hair to be this week. He’s the anti-rock god, in that people never accept the music he makes for what it is: it’s always not quite pop or not quite rock and definitely Not [Their] Thing.
Maroon 5’s singles have been in constant rotation on pop radio and the Billboard charts since “Harder to Breathe” dropped in 2002, and they’re there for a reason: sky-high vocals, catchy-to-the-point-of-psychosis hooks and choruses that beg to be belted out in the car with the windows down are all hallmarks of a Maroon 5 production, and even if you hate them, you know Levine’s part in “Stereo Heart.” You goofily shimmy to “Moves Like Jagger” if it comes on at the bar just to show everyone how you really don’t like them. You nod your head along to “Daylight” but IT’S AN ACCIDENT I SWEAR.
As far as their live set goes, Maroon 5 is on point without phoning it in, and they–gasp–weren’t too terrible on the merciless stage at SNL. Like Coldplay and The National before them, Maroon 5 were up against a massive, faceless audience of armchair critics and dedicated foes who would love nothing more than to point and laugh at Levine and Co. should those high notes ingest even more helium or the sound malfunction. At the end of the day, the music isn’t the problem here: the problem with Maroon 5, if any, is celebrity, and the fact that it’s so much easier to despise a band that makes music you only kind of sort of hate when they’re doing (debatably) cheesy things like coaching pop hopefuls on The Voice and starring in chick flicks alongside Kiera Knightley. (It’s not like it’s lost on the band, either: Levine popped into the SNL sketch fray with hostess Sarah Silverman, and dude can laugh at himself alongside everybody else.)
The performances themselves stood on their own, arguably better than their chart contemporaries and tabloid cohorts. “Animals” was far more enjoyable at SNL than its super graphic and gross music video. If you need to scrub the images from “Animals” out of the creases of your brain, the SNL version could help, if only because it gives you a look at Levine when he isn’t pulling an American Psycho and bathing in blood.
Unlike their pop contemporaries, Maroon 5 actually made the SNL stage work for them, even if they did kind of rip off the Police and Sting in the process. The live vibe was present and accounted for, Levine didn’t hit a single bad note and the most offensive quality of the performance was that of his weird waltz with the microphone. This is an actual band with chops performing, not a vanity project fronted by a man with a Hollywood mission. You’d think the vitriol reserved for Maroon 5 would be catered towards an act of the latter variety.
How’d the rest of the world feel about Maroon 5 on SNL? They weren’t all too forgiving.
First of all, who ARE the other members of Maroon 5?
How neglected do you feel, on a scale of 1 to anyone in Maroon 5 who isn’t Adam Levine?
— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) October 5, 2014
Even the other guys in Maroon 5 don’t know they’re in Maroon 5. #SNL
— Amy Albrecht (@aealbrecht) October 5, 2014
Please oblige the man, internet.
Anybody else picture Animal from the Muppets singing the “Animal” portion of the new Maroon 5 song? Someone needs to edit it together #SNL
— Randy Boose (@randyboose) October 5, 2014
THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.
MAROON 5 HAS TOO MUCH EQUIPMENT #SNL
— Nilsson Mandela (@NilssonMandela) October 5, 2014
Bad Denim: more offensive than Levine’s high notes.
I am watching Maroon 5 on #SNL and I am distracted by how much I hate the fit and wash of Adam Levine’s jeans. (But I don’t hate the song.)
— Amanda Sales (@Scamandalous) October 5, 2014
Yeah but cookies, though …
Maroon 5 songs are like oatmeal-raisin cookies: I’ve never finished one.
— Alex Scordelis (@alexscordelis) October 5, 2014
But what if Axl’s really into “Moves Like Jagger?” WHAT THEN?!
I wish late 80s Guns and Roses would magically appear onstage and rip Maroon 5 to shreds right now
— T. Cole Rachel (@tcolerachel) October 5, 2014
You’re not my dad.
Son maroon 5 sounds good on #snl right now
— Gino (Enoch) (@GINO_FN_DICOLA) October 5, 2014
Because Maroon 5 are people too. Or something.
Pretty soon we will all be members of Maroon 5. #SNL
— Brett White (@brettwhite) October 5, 2014
Maybe “One More Night” could be like a fine wine?
Wow SNL was insanely good and consistent tonight. I even enjoyed both Maroon 5 songs. I guess I really AM thirty-five years old
— Graham Smith (@grahamsmith) October 5, 2014
Idk probably science
why does the maroon 5 guy sing like that
— chris (@BassoonJokes) October 5, 2014
We LOLd, sorry.
My mute button is loving Maroon 5 right now! #SNL
— Arteen Afshar (@ArteenAfshar) October 5, 2014
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 6, 2014
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