Maroon 5 making music, not political statements
Tensions may be mounting around the world but for Maroon 5, this is not the time for protest songs - it is time to dance.
Yesterday, the chart-topping US pop-rockers released their sixth studio album Red Pill Blues, a collection of toe-tapping, funk-inflected tracks that mine the emotional drama of human relationships.
Frontman Adam Levine was unapologetic about not joining the growing number of pop stars who are getting political on their albums, saying he can count on one hand the number of protest songs he found successful.
"I can tell you right now that every songwriter that just sat down and said 'I am going to write a song that is going to change the world' probably did not do that," Levine said in a New York hotel suite.
But the 38-year-old - who is a coach on reality TV singing show The Voice - is not afraid of expressing his political views.
He has taken to social media to criticise US President Donald Trump and has been a long-time champion of gay rights.
But he said: "I think that pop music has a level of sophistication that sometimes goes undetected. Releasing the right kind of songs at the right times is an extremely important and underappreciated art form."
Through its title, Red Pill Blues offers subtle commentary on the current climate.
The imagery comes from sci-fi movie The Matrix. Its protagonist is offered a choice between the "red pill" of knowledge and the "blue pill" of ignorance.
People today are "reluctantly informed - sometimes incorrectly informed - but I think there is a lot of reality rearing its ugly head," Levine said.
The album marks a further push into studio effects by Maroon 5, which achieved global triumphs with soul-pop songs such as She Will Be Loved and dance numbers such as Moves Like Jagger.
On the album, Maroon 5 lets minimal if melodic keyboards take the lead on tracks such as Best 4 U, Plastic Rose and the early singles Don't Wanna Know and What Lovers Do.
Red Pill Blues also sees the band collaborating with rappers Kendrick Lamar and Future and singers SZA and Julia Michaels. - AFP