No space is safe from the heaviness of our times — even, it appears, a Maroon 5 record. The tone of Adam Levine and company’s seventh LP is downright elegiac. “Toast to the ones that we lost on the way,” Levine offers on “Memories,” a sweet, somber, genuinely felt ballad, with a melody borrowed from Pachelbel’s Canon. Jordi is named after and dedicated to Jordan Feldstein, the band’s manager and a friend of Adam’s since childhood, who passed away in 2017, just as the band was releasing its last album, Red Pill Blues.
Earlier on the LP, we get the single, “Nobody’s Love,” an elegantly plaintive tune that Levine has said he hopes will “give everyone a moment of peace and reflection” after recent traumas like Covid-19 and the murder of George Floyd. Lyrically, the song is almost content-free, just another smooth ditty about moving past heartache, but there’s a certain realist honesty in that, too: Sugary escape has always been what Maroon 5 have done, and, coming from these guys, it’s certainly a better response than forced corporate-branding #BLM signifying. Even the remix of “Memories” with YG and the late Nipsey Hussle, the duo who made “FDT,” doesn’t try to politicize its sentiment of personal loss. Lane, consider yourself stayed in.
That low-key tone impacts the rest of the record, from “Lost,” a spare, open-hearted ode to finding love in a lonely world, to airy, heart-horny jams “Lovesick” and “Echo.” Much of the album’s energy comes from its impressive slate of guest artists. Megan Thee Stallion swings by to pick up a check and lend a dash of queenly excellence to the standout “Beautiful Mistake”; Zimbabwean-born rapper Bantu helps kick up the stakes over a buoyant groove and arid guitar swipes on “One Light”; and H.E.R. delivers arresting vocals on “Convince Me Otherwise,” a moody Eighties synth-soul escapade that ends up being the album’s peak moment. But there are wasted opportunities too. Stevie Nicks seems to have been in the room for “Remedy,” a well-turned moment of SoCal Seventies soft-rock genuflection, but she’s rendered as not much more than an anonymous backup presence, and the ghost of Juice WRLD wanly floats through the draggy “Can’t Leave You Alone.”
In the end, what the album could use is a few more drink-clinking splashes of summertime fun, but despite the usual army of A-list writers and producers, there isn’t really anything here to rival the sticky, inescapable punch of “Sugar” or “Moves Like Jagger.” A little more escape might’ve been welcome. But whether it’s trying to be light, serious, or somewhere in the middle, Jordi can only get it done in half-measures.
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