Maroon 5, Part 1: Who Brought Sexy Back?
You guys, I have two distinct ideas about Maroon 5. Two! So I'm going to have a mini-Maroon 5 marathon by posting two separate posts about them. Here's part one...
Maroon 5: The bringing back of Sexy.
How sexy is Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5? Well, first I guess you should watch this video for the band's new single "Makes Me Wonder":
If you don't think he seems sexy in that video, you may not agree with anything I'm about to say. However, regardless of your sexuality, sex, or gender, I'm betting you do think there's a sexiness about Adam Levine. After all, you have eyes. I mean, it's not just me, right? It's not like I'm talking about the raging sexiness of Bucky Covington and asking for no debate.
Anyway, seeing this video makes me think we should revisit the question of Justin Timberlake's ownership of The Sexy in male pop.
The marketing push surrounding the arrival of Timberlake's album "Future Sex/Love Sounds" focused on how he was singlehandedly (singlecrotchedly?) returning sex appeal to the male face of popular music. Hell, "SexyBack" declared that straight up.
And at the time, it seemed like the truth. Here was J.T., in his well-tailored suits and come-hither stare, unafraid to be seen as an object of desire when so many male pop stars... well, were there any other male pop stars around? Are there?
Timberlake essentially came rushing in to fill the void created after pop radio became dominated by two types of men: (1) rappers and hip-hop artists who insist that they never seem vulnerable or in any way capable of being a sexual object and (2) rockers who keep singing about how fucked up they are over bad relationships.
What does that do for people looking for a male sexual fantasy in pop? (Because face it, the days of D'Angelo and his sculpted nakedness are long gone.) On the one hand, you get a man who equates sex with utter dominance, insisting that his sexuality is entirely defined by his lust. "Sexy" is essentially replaced by "horny," and anyone who wants to be attracted to, say, 50 Cent or Ludacris, had better be ready to have fantasies about being a powerless bitch.
On the other hand, you get a man who seems devoid of sexuality because he is so morose about how sex has messed him up. Even in Hinder's "Lips of an Angel," in which the singer wants to cheat on his current girlfriend with his sultry ex, there's an asexual panic. The guy's immobilized because his girl's in the next room while he talks to the old flame. He can't get it on with anyone.
And in case anyone is getting upset about the "powerless bitch" paragraph, I'm not saying that fantasies of being dominated are bad. I have a liberal arts education, so I'm culturally incapable of denying anyone their identity space. But sometimes, you just want a man who seems like he might actually want to be wanted, you know? Who might enjoy fulfilling your needs or revel in the idea of other people finding him desirable. There's a softness and a humanity in that. And--dare I say it?--it makes room for love and intimacy in the sexual act.
And when J.T. rolled up with "SexyBack" and "My Love," it seemed like he alone was making room for those kinds of reactions.
But you know what? We all just forgot about Adam Levine! Because he's been rocking the same sexy vibe from the beginning. Do you remember the video for Maroon 5's "This Love?" He was not afraid to show some skin.
And in the video for "Makes Me Wonder," he's got the whole Bond-sexy thing down. Granted, it seems a little bit like a "SexyBack" retread, but arguably Levine is giving us more of what he gave before and not just copycatting.
Point being: I think Maroon 5 deserves more credit for The Sexy. Again, there's room for other images of male sexuality, but this particular image is in very limited supply. As a nation, we should make sure to get all hot 'n bothered by those who present it. It's only respectful.