This one's for all the ladies in the house

Maroon 5 are huge but credibility eludes them. Gillian Orr asks Adam Levine, their frontman, if all the trite songs and videos about women might be to blame

Halfway through my interview with Adam Levine, the frontman of the Los Angeles quintet Maroon 5, he turns to me and grins. "Why are you laughing? I feel like you're kind of astonished, slightly surprised, that I'm not an idiot or something."

We may have got off on the wrong foot. To be fair, I have been giving him a hard time since we sat down to chat in a plush Park Lane hotel room. But it's just so easy to, isn't it? Maroon 5, despite their success (three times Grammy winners, more than 15 million worldwide album sales), remain an easy target.



Their music – polished, inoffensive funk-pop-rock – has never been a big hit with the critics. With their heavily female fan base, they have a reputation for being little more than a boy band, albeit a boy band who write their own music and play their own instruments. Serious acclaim has remained elusive.



So can they change people's minds with their new album, their third, Hands All Over? For the album the Californians jetted over to the producer Robert "Mutt" Lange's studio in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, where they spent two months writing and recording. Lange is the man who produced AC/DC's Back in Black and Def Leppard's Pyromania, and Levine is delighted with the end result. "I think it's a great record and I think that the songs are really well-crafted and they sound good and are presented in a cool, unique way. I think it sounds modern, I think it sounds like a fresh perspective on old ideas. Yeah, I think it's a great record. I think everyone's gonna really like it, actually. I think it's our best record. I always think that, it's my job."



Levine describes Hands All Over as "honest" and shares the personal experiences that inspired the album. "This year, I was going through some weird stuff – I turned 30 and I was going through a lot of different things, coming to terms with certain things, while friends, ex-girlfriends were getting married and pregnant."



He continues, "I have Peter Pan syndrome, I guess, I don't really want to grow up. I think that when I turned 30, it forced me to mature in some ways and still maintain my childish ways in others. It's good, you know, I went through a lot and we were in Switzerland making a record with this amazing guy who's an incredible producer and a really inspiring guy. He kind of pushed us really hard to do the best we possibly could and I think that that's all you can ever do in this life, right?"



But on closer inspection, the boys haven't really graduated from the same thing they've always written about: women. Fancying women, bedding women, being rejected by women. Isn't it becoming a bit boring? Are they capable of addressing anything else in their writing?



Their debut album, Songs about Jane, consisted of "sinking fingertips" and "sharing skin"; on their second album, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, Levine sung about, "The taste of her breath, I'll never get over." Now, on "Misery", the first single from Hands All Over, he covers "The way it feels to be completely intertwined."



Levine defends his subject matter, however. "It seems like men and women misunderstand each other most of the time and that is definitely a source of a lot of turmoil in people's lives and frustrations. I think it's a really important thing, there's just a disconnect sometimes, but then there are also amazing connections that you have, so it's this weird kind of double-edged sword, and I think people would be lying if they said that it didn't consume them to some extent. As cheesy as it sounds, love and the failure of love is kind of a central theme in a lot of people's lives. You know, it can build you up or it can break you down, it can do a lot of different things to you, it's very dynamic in its capability, so I love to write about it because it's kind of a big deal." Although he does conclude, "I need to find something else to harp on about, you know, I am aware of that."



As well as the lyrical preoccupation with the ladies, there are also the constant images and videos casting Levine as a sort of lothario. The video for their biggest hit to date, 2003's "This Love", consisted of Levine rolling around a bed half-naked while kissing a hot model. The video for "Misery" consists of Levine running all over town and kissing a hot model. The cover for their new album features, you guessed it, a half-naked and hot model. Isn't it getting a bit, well, farcical?



Levine laughs and nods: "It is absolutely ridiculous at this point. We're ready to change that. Definitely. I don't know if I can stomach doing that again. But, you know what? There are some amazing things on the horizon; we have some pretty cool ideas about this record. We want to change things up, absolutely, it's getting a bit tired. I don't think anyone on planet Earth wants to see me kissing another girl."



Maroon 5 have achieved everything a band usually wants to achieve and passed all the usual milestones of a successful band: the huge record sales, performing on Saturday Night Live, worldwide tours, appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The only thing left to conquer, really, is the critics.



When asked about his favourite bands, Levine says he thinks that The Rolling Stones are still the best band in the world today. He also mentions Arcade Fire. I ask him if he would like to be in a respected band such as Arcade Fire, a band that has it all: huge commercial success alongside critical acclaim.



"It's so much better to always feel like you have something to say or prove, you know?", he points out. "Music criticism is the most irrelevant criticism in the history of all criticism. It's like, who cares what you think? Especially if there are millions of people who love what you do, fuck you, who cares? If I were to live and die by criticism, I would be way dead. So it doesn't really... Yeah, it bugs me, I'd love to be heralded, I'd love to be considered some boy genius of rock'n'roll, that'd be awesome, but I'm not and that's fine. I know my own worth, it's OK. I'm not gonna cry about it."



Before anyone feels too sorry for him, it's pretty clear that Levine has a most enviable lifestyle. He does what he loves, he's handsome, he's rich and he has a gorgeous model girlfriend (naturally). Perhaps it is this that winds people up. I like Levine, though. He's totally honest and quite prepared to laugh at himself and how people see him.



After the interview, I'm waiting in the hallway for the lift down to the lobby. Levine saunters past me on his way to get some sleep in his suite. "You are so mean," he jokes. "Really." When I protest he simply shrugs and laughs: "It's cool, I can handle it."



Maroon 5's new album, 'Hands All Over', is out now. They tour the UK next February (Maroon5.com)

Arts and Entertainment

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade

radio
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable