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Now the Los Angeles quintet is back with its third-studio album, entitled Hands All Over - a killer hybrid of rock, pop, funk, and R&B, that showcases the band's considerable strengths: buoyant, unforgettable melodies, sleek, stylish grooves, charged lyrics about turbulent relationships, and crisp, dynamic performances.
Levine, the band's lyricist, began writing the songs that appear on Hands All Over after winding down from a world tour in support of It Won't Be Soon Before Long. A few months later, Maroon 5 received a phone call from veteran studio wizard Robert John "Mutt" Lange (AC/DC, Foreigner, The Cars), who had heard that Maroon 5 were beginning to write a new album and expressed an interest in producing it. "We didn't even talk to anyone else," Levine says. "Mutt is undeniably one of the most successful producers who's ever lived."
Levine's first performing experience - in fact the event that ignited his desire to become a singer and musician - actually involves Lange. The story goes like this: 20 years ago, when Levine was 10, he attended a friend's birthday party "at one of those places in the San Fernando Valley where the kids dress up in rock-n-roll gear and lip-sync their favorite songs," he says. Levine chose the Def Leppard classic "Pour Some Sugar On Me." "I knew I could sing because my music teacher told me I had a voice, but I had never really performed before. I grabbed the mic and just went for it. Afterwards I knew that I've got to do this for the rest of my life. That's what got the whole ball rolling for me." The classic anthem "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was, of course, famously produced by Lange. "If that's not a full 360, I don't know what is," Levine says. "It doesn't get more circular than that."
In July 2009, the members of Maroon 5 - Levine, keyboardist Jesse Carmichael, bassist Mickey Madden, guitarist James Valentine, and drummer Matt Flynn " decamped to Lange's studio in Vevey, Switzerland, on the north shore of Lake Geneva where they worked distraction-free with the Swiss Alps looming in the distance. "Just being near those majestic mountains and lakes was so inspiring," says Jesse Carmichael. "Waking up and seeing these giant snow-capped peaks, it set the tone for the record and made the whole thing feel like some sort of magical summer camp experience." Adds Carmichael: "Mutt really helped us play to the best of our ability. And it drove us to be bigger and better than ever. Everything he does is huge."
"Huge" is a good way to describe Hands All Over, starting with the hard-rocking title track that is heavier than anything Maroon 5 has ever done. Says Valentine: "It doesn't sound like anything we've done so far." Another stylistic departure is "Out of Goodbyes," a stunning country ballad that features musical and vocal contributions from Nashville chart-toppers Lady Antebellum. "We've always loved country music," Levine says, "and they brought that necessary twang to it with the lap steels, ambient guitar, and Hillary Scott's pretty country voice." Other highlights include the deeply groovy "Don't Know Much About That," the propulsive "Stutter" ("a great showcase for Adam's voice," Valentine says) and "Misery," which will thrill long-time Maroon 5 fans with its funky guitars and high-stepping melody.
Maroon 5 first hit it big in 2002 with Songs About Jane, which went quadruple platinum and spawned four hit singles: the blockbuster Top 40 No. 1 "This Love," the Top 5 "She Will Be Loved," as well as "Harder to Breathe" and "Sunday Morning." Its success cemented their status as a world-class rock band and led to a 2005 Grammy Award win for "Best New Artist." They followed up Songs About Jane with Acoustic (2004), a collection of unplugged songs, and Live ' Friday the 13th (2005), which earned them a second Grammy for "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal" for the 2006 live recording of "This Love."
In May 2007, Maroon 5 released It Won't Be Soon Before Long, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, selling nearly half a million copies its first week of release. The Grammy-nominated album featured several hits, including "If I Never See Your Face Again" and "Makes Me Wonder," which earned Maroon 5 their third Grammy, once again for "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals." In 2009, they released Call & Response: The Remix Album, an 18-track "mixtape" that featured Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, Swizz Beatz, Paul Oakenfold, and many others, putting a new twist on the band's biggest hits. Maroon 5 also collaborated with Rihanna on a Grammy-nominated new version of "If I Never See Your Face Again," which appeared on the re-release of the Barbados-born pop star's 2007 album Good Girl Gone Bad. (Levine has also collaborated with Ying Yang Twins, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Natasha Bedingfield, and K'naan.)
Along the way, Maroon 5 toured the world, including a sold-out headlining tour of the U.S., during which they partnered with environmental action organization Reverb to reduce their carbon footprint. Known for their commitment to the environment, Maroon 5 also became members of the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and were honored at the 2006 Environmental Media Awards and have pledged both time and energy toward Global Cool, an initiative launched to fight global warming by motivating a billion people worldwide to reduce their personal energy use.
Since Hands All Over's release in 2010, which is as accessible and broadly appealing as anything the band has ever done, Maroon 5 has found global success. The album notched a #2 debut on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and received a Grammy Award nomination for "Misery", the debut single off Hands All Over in the category of "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals". The nod marks the group's seventh Grammy nomination overall and 4th in that category. Hitting the airwaves this summer, "Misery" skyrocketed into the top 10 on the Top 40 radio chart within four weeks of its release, marking it the band's fastest rising chart success to date. Maroon 5's releases have gone gold and platinum in over 35 countries around the world, including Hands All Over, which was certified gold by the RIAA in December 2010.
In addition to his work with Maroon 5, band frontman Adam Levine joined the #1 NBC hit series "The Voice" as a coach in 2011. The show has been dominating Tuesday ratings and in mid-May, it was confirmed that the network has renewed the show for a second season.
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