Maroon 5
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A Case of Maroon 5 Syndrome

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Nowadays, it seems as though there are more artists trying to make their way into the world of music than ever before. And unfortunately, with this huge influx of musicians, there come more challenges as well. While diversity and greater numbers should always be encouraged, it is becoming increasingly difficult for some to stand out amidst their peers, especially in the Alternative, Indie, and Hip Hop/Rap genres. Much of what is produced is repetitive and borders on plagiarism in some cases (alright, that may be a little extreme, but the bottom line is that artists are starting to sound more and more alike). And music websites such as iTunes and Spotify don’t exactly help with this problem, grossly underpaying fresh faces while overpaying the ones that are familiar to us. So, what are starving artists to do? The easiest option, it seems, is to develop a case of Maroon 5 Syndrome.


“What in the world is Maroon 5 Syndrome?”, you may be asking yourself. The term is one that I’ve made up, but I feel as though describes the situation fairly accurately. In the early 2000’s, Maroon 5 was a band that produced beautiful love songs accompanied by the sounds of an acoustic guitar, piano and Adam Levine’s unique voice. However, as the industry slowly evolved and shifted towards the Pop genre, so did they. Their most recent album, V, is almost the polar opposite of one of their earliest works, Songs About Jane, and if you listen to the two of them you’ll know precisely what I mean. In their early career, not many people knew who Maroon 5 was. But add a dash of electronic sounds, a sprinkle of more sexual lyrics, and a really catchy hook, and voila! You’ve made it onto the radio! While I do admire the fact that the band can vary their musical rhythm and overall sound, it seems as though they’ve been on the Pop path for the last few years. And thus, the syndrome began.


Now, not every artist does this (that would be an enormous generalization), however the syndrome has crept inside the industry like a mouse into a kitchen. Although, I suppose that calling it a “syndrome” isn’t entirely correct, because for many artists, it isn’t a sickness at all. It’s a tool. It’s an escape from the low levels of recognition that they’ve been given, allowing them to reach higher places. You can see it all over: artists from Taylor Swift to Coldplay  have developed slight cases of it in some of their recent works (the albums 1989 and Mylo Xyloto respectively, to name examples). Both of these now exceedingly famous artists didn’t start out that way, but the more Pop-ish their style became, the more “pop”ular they became as well.

Variation and exploration are not bad things. But variation and shift to more generic and recognizable music for the sake of making it in the industry is definitely a problem. How can we fix it? The answer is simple: encourage diversity. Give newcomers a chance to shine with their own work. Start distributing funds fairly. These few steps could change everything. But until they are made a reality, we can do nothing but watch as Pop completely engulfs all of the other genres surrounding it. 

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