Radio Gaga

Maroon 5
This Love

Having done some polling during a recent outing to the cinema, I have concluded that there are six main positions regarding Maroon 5's single "This Love." Here they are, in the form of indirect quotation: 1) I have not heard Maroon 5's "This Love," 2) Someday I'd like to slowly remove the kitschy white belt with which the singer guy keeps up his low-rise dungarees in the song's video. Then I'd make ooh-la-la love to/with him into the small hours (possibly all night if I don't have to work the next morning), 3) I used to think "This Love" was a toe-tapping number by my favorite group of clean-cut California rockers since Kara's Flowers, but now that I know about my totally not funny girlfriend's carnal fixation on lead singer Adam Levine, I will never listen to the song again, 4) Corporate rock still sucks, dodo head, and no, you can't have any of my Goobers, 5) Can't say as I ever took me a shine to all that bobbysoxer katzenjammering, and 6) Maroon 5's "This Love" is great, and who said I wanted any of your rotten Goobers, anyhow?

The present writer correctly agrees with Position Six, though it took me a while to get there. The first time I heard the song--or rather the last half of the song, meaning I missed its nifty toy-piano intro (so reminiscent of Billy Joel's "Allentown")--I was suspicious of Levine's lover-man emoting (on the bridge especially), and found the short, transistor-radio-drums-plus-wah-wah break to be funky in a kind of Pringles jingle sort of way. I have overcome those objections, as should you.

Judging from my limited exposure to the rest of the band's work (I'd buy the album, but that would cut into my newly established white-belt fund), Maroon 5 is not a devotedly rock 'n' soul band. "This Love," however, is R & S on a level equal to Hall & Oates's A-list hits. One also hears traces of Terence Trent D'Arby--particularly when Levine hits the high note on the tendin' of verse two's "pretending." The record sounds pricey and stuffed, but only a few of the overdubs are gratuitous, and the key parts are distinctive and complementary--those buried piano tinkles on the choruses, the guitar that's chunky and riffy like a horn section and the one that's choppy like Jimmy Nolen via INXS. And though the "hard" in "I tried to...keep her coming every night, so hard to keep her satisfied" is a flaccid pun, the single as a whole is stoutly, deeply satiating.


"RADIO GAGA," in which current pop hits are praised, debated, and mocked, will run biweekly.

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