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Mommy, what’s a pay phone? On new single, "Payphone," Maroon5 takes us back to the past, when things were good between lead singer Adam Levine and his girl, and he’d spend all of his money on a pay phone calling her and he still believed in “fairy tales.”
Bolstered by a rat-a-tat drum beat, “Payphone” is a straight-ahead pop ditty, that, like everything else these days, seems to take a page from Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” for its shiny, military-like precise beat that still manages to sound convincingly warm. As I've been writing about ad nauseum lately, we've entered a new pure pop period, and this song fits in perfectly. It's melodic and catchy, and but not overly aggressive.
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There are two versions for radio: one with a rap by Wiz Khalifa and one without. He adds a nice change of page and stations that are urban leaning will definitely lean toward the mix with him, but expect the non-Khalifa version to get the most love at Hot AC.
Levine’s vocals are warm and inviting on this, the first single from Maroon 5’s forthcoming album, “Overexposed,” which comes out June 26. Similarly to with its mega-hit, “Moves Like Jagger,” the band decided to work with outside writers on “Overexposed,” and if this tune is any indication, it was a smart move. Popmeister Max Martin executive produced the set and among the writers/producers are OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and Benny Bianco.
Between Jennifer Lopez on “American Idol” and Levine’s participation on “The Voice,” the artists getting the biggest boost from talent competitions seems to be the judges. Speaking of, Blake Shelton scores his 11th No. 1 this week on Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Drink On It.”
What do you think?
Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitfixMelinda