Sunday, June 24, 2007

Marooned by 5

I thought Maroon 5 was some pimp band when I first heard of them last month, like "Lavender 6" or "Purple Velvet 1876". And I was paying a fortune for their concert tickets, so if they sucked, I was gonna destroy somebody's guitar. What I won't do for KM, who was hell bent on seeing them rock out.

Lo and behold, Maroon 5's the next coming of Stevie Wonder, Sting, U2 all rolled into one, atleast for KM. Anticipating atleast 1/4th of U2, KM godded me to hear Maroon 5 @ the Great American. "I've really never heard of this band," I told KM. "You're from Mars anyways," she responded, making fishy faces.

The room was crammed with a Britney Spears meets Eddie Veder type crowd, so I didn't know what to expect. Then the band appeared, a bunch of wannabe rockstars still in their diapers. All I wanted some rockin' jammin', vocals don't mean jack. I evaluated the instruments they bought -- a few guitars, keyboards, drums, few rhythm accessories -- hmm, enough to indicate a decent jam. Hope was in view.

Maroon then started ripping out songs that ringed of familiarity -- I thought I'd heard some of them in in movie promos, radios, paid bathroom stalls, everywhere. Ah, I thought, so those songs were sung by *these* guys. One of life's mysteries solved.

Overall, twas a good jam. Vocals were OK, but their music, arrangements and sounds were unique. The timing of keyboards, guitars and drums were impeccable and meshed surprisingly well for such a big arrangement. It's tough for three major guitarists to put their act together to a single keyboard octane, but these guys didn't miss a beat, not once. Bringing so much together can be tough, even a terrible guitarist like me can tell you that.

The songs were the usual pop fare, but the bass provided the kick I was looking for. They mixed interesting keyboard sounds with good bass guitar riffs to generate a somewhat deep bass. Not the kind you'd find with a bass viol, pick-up and strings, but good enough to please. But in the end, it's Maroon 5 and a pop concert for teeny boppers, not an a capella or jazz concert.

Also tuned into the MP3 of their new single, "Makes me wonder" and it's much more polished than the concert version. Guitars are fewer. Rugged synthesizer shots accompany bass guitar. Bongos add to what's an already deep bass. Drums are less significant they they were in concert, simple keyboards riffs instead set up a stanza (not like that in concert). Essentially the keyboards are the glue that patch the song together. They make up for bass cut by drums, and act as a great set up to execute the vocals.

Very clean and sophisticated pop arrangement, with interesting instrumentation and bass for a pop song. We see that in all pop songs, but this is a particularly interesting example.

If you hear it the second time, forget the vocals and focus on the song's instruments. You might find something new to appreciate.

And now I know Maroon 5, KM. Shut your big trash talkin' mouth.


Blogger venus said...

hmm, i've heard of the band 'maroon 5', i also felt the same when i heard of them for the first time, like, eh, now this another band, maroon 5, next will be maroon 6.. have heard one song i think, havn't got much into M5s yet, so, i don't know what is this big hype about them.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Id it is said...

Hadn't heard of them so thanks for the write! I'm excited about Rage Against The Machine coming to NY next month; I plan to attend!

* I finally got to read the book you recommended - "The Bastard of Istanbul"; I liked it enough to do a post on it.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous javacurls said...

In my book you get points just for being open minded enough to attend a concert for a band you've never heard of! ;)

Glad to hear you enjoyed some of their tunes.

1:16 AM  

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