Released September 21, 2010 by A&M / Octone.
For their third studio album Maroon 5 add a bit more rock and it looks good on them. There is a loosening up in sound here while keeping the infectious hooks that have always been a major part of the group's appeal. Don't go looking for exceptional depth, but in a period in which mainstream pop sounds are ruling the charts again, Maroon 5 provide a good lesson in exactly how to make a solid pop album.
Robert John "Mutt" Lange In the Production Chair
To record Hands All Over, Maroon 5 headed to Switzerland and the studios of legendary pop-rock producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. He is known for producing and co-writing massive hits for Shania Twain, Def Leppard, and AC/DC. Here one of the notable factors is that he brings a stronger rock aesthetic into Maroon 5's stew of pop and soul. Crunchy guitars and a rock star sway animate the title song. "Stutter" brings in elements of classic glitter rock with a rollicking sway. The entire album is loaded with hooks. There is little introspection here. Hands All Over is constantly eager for your attention and eager to please.
Maroon 5 Loosens Up
The best moments on Hands All Over are when Maroon 5 feel like they have truly loosened up as a band. The first single "Misery," despite the downbeat lyrics, is musically one of the band's most joyously loose-limbed confections yet. "Never Gonna Leave This Bed" may detail a relationship in trouble, but the sound wraps you in pillows of pop melodies that transport without dissolving into saccharine sweetness. "How" finds the band visiting sweeping power ballad territory with ease.
Top Tracks on 'Hands All Over'
- "Never Gonna Leave This Bed"
- "Get Back In My Life"
Maroon 5 Evolves Successfully As a Pop Band
There are a few missteps here. The addition of "Out of Goodbyes" with Lady Antebellum feels both jarring and a crass attempt to pad the commercial value of Hands All Over. However, the overall picture of the album is one of an already solid band evolving into new territory with the sure hand of producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange providing assistance in steering the rudder. Perhaps the best example of how Maroon 5 are changing is the tour de force track "Get Back In My Life." The group's trademark rubbery guitar and funky soul beats are there, but that is merely a jumping off point for excursions into rock attitude, a seemingly Prince influenced break, and even echoes of 80s style industrial dance pop. Hands All Over is Maroon 5's evolution from a pop-funk band into a versatile mainstream pop band. For most pop fans, the result is pure audio fun.