Ma­roon 5 were stag­nat­ing un­til front­man Adam Levine joined the US ver­sion of The Voice, writes Cameron Adams

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

It’s Levine prov­i­dence

BE­ING on the Amer­i­can ver­sion of The Voice has been a very wise busi­ness de­ci­sion for Ma­roon 5 front­man Adam Levine.

Be­fore he said yes, Ma­roon 5 had hit a chart road bump.

Af­ter 15 mil­lion sales of their first two al­bums, the third, Hands All Over, was stag­nat­ing, it had barely clocked up one mil­lion sales.

‘‘ It’s falling short in some ways, but you have to face that,’’ Levine said last year.

‘‘ When you be­come ac­cus­tomed to a cer­tain level of suc­cess, anything less be­comes un­sat­is­fy­ing.’’

But the band had a plan. Around the time Levine signed on to the TV show, they were sent an idea for a song by song­writer Shell­back, who’s known for his work with Brit­ney Spears, Pink and Usher.

There was a whis­tled hook and a blank cho­rus, ex­cept for the words ‘‘ I’ve got the moves like Jag­ger’’. ‘‘ I knew it was spe­cial,’’ Levine says. ‘‘ The minute I heard that main hook I thought: ‘ Oh sh--, if it’s done right, this is an as­ton­ish­ing mo­ment we’re go­ing to cap­ture’.’’

It was the first time the band had worked with ex­ter­nal song­writ­ers, with hits like This Love, She Will Be Loved and Makes Me Won­der all writ­ten in- house.

But Moves Like Jag­ger be­came a global No. 1 hit last year and sud­denly crit­ics of Levine do­ing The Voice were si­lenced, in­clud­ing Ma­roon 5’ s gui­tarist, James Valen­tine.

‘‘ I didn’t watch the first sea­son at all,’’ Valen­tine told Rolling Stone this year.

‘‘ I don’t need to turn on the TV to hear Adam’s opin­ions. That’s not entertainment for me. But, when I fi­nally caught it, I got hooked like ev­ery­one else.’’

The plat­inum- coloured ele­phant in the room is that The Voice has been amaz­ing for busi­ness, for both Levine and also for Ma­roon 5.

‘‘ It’s pretty damn cool, it’s re­ally kicked ev­ery­thing up an­other notch,’’ Levine says.

And he’s keen to sign on for a third Amer­i­can se­ries and, at one point, was in the mix to be on the Aus­tralian se­ries.

‘‘ Trust me, I would have loved nothing more than go­ing to Aus­tralia and do­ing the show and hav­ing fun, but I lit­er­ally didn’t have the time,’’ he says.

The Voice has had other knock- on ef­fects: He’s film­ing a role in the US drama Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story and is re­leas­ing his own cologne.

But, apart from his ex­tra- cur­ric­u­las, Levine was ea­ger to get back in the stu­dio.

For the fourth Ma­roon 5 al­bum, Over­ex­posed, they’ve kept the same rou­tine, work­ing with some of the most suc­cess­ful pop song­writ­ers.

‘‘ Stereo Hearts and Moves Like Jag­ger were such huge suc­cesses, it was hard to ar­gue with that for­mula,’’ Levine says.

‘‘ We’d had a lot of time and a lot of years do­ing ev­ery­thing com­pletely in- house, just the band.

‘‘ In or­der to grow and change and evolve and have more fun, you have to spike some new el­e­ments in.’’

Levine ad­mits it wasn’t just the dis­ap­point­ing sales of Hands All Over that saw them reach out for help.

‘‘ Partly that, but there was no one spe­cific rea­son, but it took a lot of pres­sure off me, first of all,’’ he says.

‘‘ It was great be­cause the band ac­tu­ally wound up unit­ing even more as a result of do­ing this. That’s all you can ever hope for, that you keep lov­ing what you do with the guys you’ve been do­ing it with for 10, 15, 20- plus years.’’

A- list song­writ­ers flocked to the band, in­clud­ing One Repub­lic’s Ryan Ted­der who was in de­mand af­ter his work on Adele’s 21 and uber hit­maker Max Martin.

‘‘ The songs would take on some­what of a dif­fer­ent life, be­cause you’ve got writ­ers work­ing in a band not just peo­ple to hand the song over to,’’ Levine says.

‘‘ And our­selves, as well, were usu­ally be­ing in the po­si­tion where we don’t lis­ten to any­body, but we were lis­ten­ing to them, tak­ing their coun­sel and amaz­ing ad­vice.’’

Levine said the new di­rec­tion re­ju­ve­nated the band.

‘‘ I feel like we’re fi­nally in the place we were meant to be,’’ he says.

‘‘ There was al­ways this push and pull, ‘ Who are we? What are we do­ing?’.

‘‘ This time we went f--- it, we’re go­ing to go in there and be this band we kinda al­ready are and see it through.’’

Levine took par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in the lyrics and says the sound is still very Ma­roon 5. ‘‘ We’re still play­ing on it, it’s still us, we’re con­tribut­ing to the writ­ing quite a bit and I’m singing. So it’s Ma­roon 5.’’ OVER­EX­POSED ( Uni­ver­sal) out now MA­ROON 5: Mel­bourne’s Rod Laver Arena, Oc­to­ber 12; Syd­ney Entertainment Cen­tre, Oc­to­ber 13. On sale July 3, Tick­etek.

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