Radio Rant: Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger

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.

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About bgibs122

I enjoy music and music culture; I hope you do, too.
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2 Responses to Radio Rant: Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger

  1. Dal says:

    Interesting review my friend!

    I just want to make one thing clear from this sentence – “Maroon 5 have never come close to matching their 2003/2004 success”. How about a #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007 with “Makes Me Wonder”. The album went to #1 also. True, it wasn’t as big as “Songs About Jane” but when will they ever? Granted also the latest album “Hands All Over” was a bit dissapointing for Maroon 5’s standards but it didn’t too bad. “Misery” got to #14 on the top 40 chart I think in the US for airplay. The third single “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” has been climbing tremendously the past month or so and is up to 30. So let’s make one thing clear they’re doing OK.

    On the track itself. The track was written by Maroon 5. Any suggestion it was some track written by Adam Levine and no one else is just plain silly. Adam Levine has the lion share of writing on all of Maroon 5 records. It’s just not true Maroon 5’s name has been “slapped” on just to gain more sales.

    As with any review it is subjective and your personal opinion. I agree partially with some of the things you have said such as it straying from Maroon 5’s traditional sound. I have to say as they have gone along with each album they stray further which I guess is their sound progressively changing. Listen to the album “Hands All Over”, that was pretty much pure pop. No disco feel i.e. “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” or acoustic rock/pop like “Songs About Jane”.

    Good review nonetheless!

    Dal

    • bgibs122 says:

      Thanks for reading!

      Ah yes, I did forget about “Makes Me Wonder” hitting #1, good catch! I didn’t mean to imply that Maroon 5 is slumming it (hardly the case), but each album of theirs keeps seeing diminished returns. I’ve got an eye on “Never Gonna Leave This Bed”, though.

      As for the origins of “Moves Like Jagger”, some research led me to the producer/writer information I posted in the review. While true that Levine gets most of the writing credit for Maroon 5’s work, what really set “Moves Like Jagger” apart, for me, was that it’s tied to The Voice, and I’m not sure that the rest of the band was. That said, I’m aware that the band is playing on the song, albeit with more of a ravey pop sound that usual. I’ve always favored “It Won’t Be Soon For Long”, personally.

      Glad to hear that you liked it!

      -Blake

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