Hello, and welcome to Radio Rants. So, who am I dealing with these week?
…so that happened. An odd choice, but both Maroon 5 and Aguilera could use a boost right now; outside of a single or two, Maroon 5 have never come close to matching their 2003/2004 success, and Xtina’s had a well publicized rough year. Wait, Christina and Whatsisface McWhiny judges on
We’ve Never Heard Of American Idol The Voice, so I’m guessing “Moves Like Jagger” is the inevitable exploitation of a new and devoted fanbase. Well hey, it worked for J.Lo, why not now?
Alright, let’s start with the obvious: “Moves Like Jagger”. Really? Look, I’ve got nothing against the Stones, but in the past year, we’ve had two huge hits name drop the frontiest of all frontmen. Why do we feel the need to keep mentioning Mick Jagger, can’t Freddie Mercury or Robert Plant get in on this?
As it turns out in the chorus, the full line is “I got the moves like Jagger”. And unlike looking like him, that’s actually a valid boast. But, like every other one of Maroon 5’s attempts at being sexy, it falls flat due to frontman Adam Levine. Levine’s a good looking guy–well, if you’re into big foreheads, beady eyes, and too much hair-gel, he is–but any sensuality he might have physically gets utterly demolished as soon as you hear that voice. I don’t have anything against falsetto, but that pinched, nasally voice of his can’t pull off the smooth blue-eyed soul Maroon 5 seems to always hint at.
While we’re on vocals, let’s talk Christina. I’m always kind of disappointed when I hear that Christina’s having a rough way to go, because someone with a big, powerful voice like hers shouldn’t make artistic fumbles as often as she does. Thankfully, the summer-pop of “Moves Like Jagger” doesn’t push her out of her comfort zone, and we get a usual dose of Christina: big, confident vocals with words almost unintelligible between vocal riffs and moans. It’s not especially impressive, but feisty none the less.
Actually, this song could use a little more Aguilera. Besides her verse, all she gets is some background riffing on the final chorus while we listen to Captain Helium. One thing I always like about Christina is that she brings energy to a track, and “Moves Like Jagger” could use some real duet action to keep it going. And considering that 1. Christina and Levine were equals on The Voice, and 2. this sounds little like a Maroon 5 track (more on that in a second), I don’t see a reason for why this couldn’t have been billed as “Adam Levine and Christian Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger”. It stands to reason that if you have enough star power to judge an American Idol knockoff, you should be able to carry a single. Or maybe not (see? Another frontman not getting shout outs).
Like I said, “Moves Like Jagger” barely sounds like Maroon 5. True, it has the requisite singular funk riff that gets repeated into submission, but it’s drum machine beat and multiple synths betray its origins: Levine has a cowriting credit, as do major pop producers Benny Blanco and Shellback (both of whom produced the track). My guess? Instead of confusing fans or starting a fight over Levine doing a “solo” career, the label folks figured why not slap Maroon 5’s name on the song to nab a few more buyers.
I can’t call “Moves Like Jagger” a bad listening experience. Sure, it’s an absolutely mercenary exercise in disposable summer fluff, but the electro-disco production goes down easy, and it’s even fairly catchy. I do think maybe a little more thought could have been put into it, like some fun, or clever lyrics (“I got the moves like Jagger” is the only line you’ll remember), but as it stands, “Moves Like Jagger” will entertain you enough for the next few weeks. At least there’s no “swagger” rhyme.