Hot 100 Review: Memories by Maroon 5

Watch the video:

Circles by Post Malone is number one this week. I presumptively covered it, but I also kind of predicted that it would go back up after the holiday season (in my head, I didn’t say that anywhere). That makes this the number 2 song this week.

Maroon 5 has drastically gone downhill since they started in (after googling) 2002. It was not a simple drop, but a long and winding road down. Like a trip down the Grand Canyon. Some songs were good, others were so, so bad, most are just less good than the previous .

Memories is the musical equivalent of white noise (I want to say blaring, but it’s so low key I can’t). It’s noticeable, and kind of annoying when on, and completely forgotten when you turn it off. It is just so unmemorable. Even their bad songs like Animals or Payphone are uniquely bad. It can’t even reach those lows.

The beat is near to nonexistent, and stale. It starts with a half-way decent guitar pluck that just repeats. It doesn’t change at all. It’s volume drops down to accommodate the lyrics, but it’s still the exact same beat. It adds some backing vocals, and some extra instruments intermittently, but it keeps the same mindless beat that plays for the full 3 minutes.

It’s lyrics are not much better. It is all about memories, looking back on what had come before, thinking of those that couldn’t be here, and toast those that are around us today. That is as deep as those lyrics and themes go. They’re just repeated every chorus/verse. The kid’s splash zone level of depth it provides on memories come from how drinking helps bring back memories. These memories feel more coded to pertain to a romantic person or a close family member they lost. This is represented in the lyrics, “’Cause the drinks bring back all the memories/And the memories bring back, memories bring back you…” then reinforced with the verse where he says it brings him to a time he didn’t know pain, everything would be stable, but now he feels cold like December.

It’s all the most plain lyrics about history and memories you could possibly have. They are all generic words and platitudes. I almost want to argue it’s worse than some middle school student poetry. That might not be fair, but at least those kids would put effort into describing how they’re cold like December, and feel clever about it. This… Just… the lyrics are just ironical unmemorable.

The music video is similarly unmemorable. It just consists of Adam Levine singing right to the camera with the lighting changing to reveal more or less of him, and slowly backs away to see his shirtless, tattooed torso. That was not a memory I needed in my head. The cover art of a hand going through an old, multi-labeled box is more interesting and tells more of a story.

Adam Levine said in an interview that this song was made to reflect the 17 year history of the band. It’s supposed to bring back memories of their past. It’s too bad it sounds like none of it. Their older albums had more of a funk influence on them. They also had soul and pretty good lyricism. This is just a stale wafer in song form.

The song didn’t need to be the embodiment of edible paper. For good and ill they have been around and have major hits consistently for almost two decades, and as we end a whole decade just imagine the opus they could craft. It could be a reprise for all of their hits. The first band that comes to mind to do that is Fall Out Boy with What a Catch, Donnie. That song blends all their big songs seamlessly into a cohesive celebration and reflection.

This song could do that, but it seems to have been farted out by Adam Levin and the Levinettes. They put in no effort, and no thought into because it could be played in a Michael’s Craft Store and no one would care, notice or raise a fuss over it. It will blend into anything their doing and disappear just as quickly. At least Yummy had the decency to work at being disgusting and gross.

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