Maroon 5 is the popular American band of the 21st century – Quartz
The 60s and 70s saw the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The 2000s and 2010s have Maroon 5.
On November 3, Maroon 5 released their sixth album, Red pill blues. As critics shrug – music review site Pitchfork called it “numbing” soft rock – the masses ate it once again. The album was No. 2 in the US in its first week, making Red pill blues the band’s fifth album to reach the top two. The only one of Maroon 5’s albums not to reach these heights was their debut album in 2003, Song about Jane, which ultimately sold over 10 million copies worldwide and included the pop-rock classics “This Love”, “She Will Be Loved” and “Sunday Morning”.
But while Maroon 5 has had popular albums, where they really shine is in making hit singles. Billboard’s Top 40 is typically dominated by young solo artists (many of whom were once Disney Channel TV stars), which makes the group – a bunch of men in their late 30s – freak intruders.
Since 2000, Maroon 5 has counted 13 songs in the Billboard Top 10, twice as many as any other group. Including solo artists, only Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Beyonce, and Katy Perry got more. The group’s newest single, “What Lovers Do”, a delightful pop-funk track with singer SZA, currently sits at No. 9.
Perhaps the most surprising fact about Maroon 5 is that they are, in fact, a group. The image of the act is dominated by frontman Adam Levine, one of the stars of NBC’s hit music show The voice, but the rest of Maroon 5 is far from a rotating cast. Only one of the original five members of the band has left, and three new members have since been added to develop the sound. All members play instruments.
In a 2014 BBC interview, Maroon 5 complained that people often assume they are a boy group. “I don’t think people understood that we write our own songs,” said guitarist James Valentine, who describes the Maroon 5 formula for writing hits as “minor. [key], funk and heartache.
Still, the band doesn’t fully function without the help of the Pop Song Machine. For their last two albums, they collaborated with professional songwriters like Max Martin and John Ryan.
Whether you like it or not, Maroon 5 may be the most popular band of the past two decades, and they show no signs of slowing down.