Review: Maroon 5 Still Deftly Navigating the Pop Moment on New LP

Our take on 'Red Pill Blues,' the band's sixth album, which features appearances from SZA and Kendrick Lamar

Maroon 5's sixth album is 'Red Pill Blues.' Credit: Travis Schneider

On the sixth M5 LP, Adam Levine nuances a role he plays well: the Top 40 old-soul navigating whatever the pop-music moment throws his way. He works well alongside young talent, trading playful "hey now, baby"s with SZA over crisp brunch funk on "What Lovers Do" and ascending into falsetto sunshine with Julia Michaels on "Help Me Out." Kendrick Lamar provides a high point simply by showing up for "Don't Wanna Know." Whether skating over house beats on "Plastic Rose" or cruising through a ballad like "Denim Jacket," Levine proves himself a pliant star of Jacksonian ease and Stingly self-assurance.