Maroon 5’s ‘Girls Like You’ undeserving of broad popularity

‘Girls like you’ by band Maroon 5 featuring rapper Cardi B has 488,531,889 streams on the music streaming service, Spotify. Hitting top charts, this song was played all summer long.

Every morning, 107.3 The Party drags me from unconsciousness via my radio alarm clock, which in 2018, means I’ve been waking up to the droning, unenthusiastic, barely-there “Girls Like You.”  Sung by Maroon 5 and featuring Cardi B, this song has steadily stolen the No.1 spot on Billboard’s Top 40 for five weeks.  It was also nominated for the MTV Video Music Award for the Best Song of the Summer.

More than anything else, this song has motivated me to get out of bed in the morning.  Mainly to turn it off because if I hear it’s pathetic beat going into cardiac arrest one more time, I’m taking an ax to my alarm.

Let’s not mince words — “Girls Like You” is awful.

If this song is an ear-worm, it’s the kind that buries into your skull, eats away at your brain cells and ends with your musical taste in a pine box.

It opens with an acoustic guitar because there just haven’t been enough desperate-to-be-heartfelt ballads in the past few years. Fortunately, it doesn’t last long. After just eight seconds, it fades away to be replaced by something much, much worse: Adam Levine’s voice.

Over the approximately six centuries that the Maroon 5 frontman has graced our ears, he’s evolved from moderately human (pre-2010) into screeching squirrel-man (the “Animals” era) into pure machine (circa now). Nothing about how he sings this song is interesting or remarkable or emotional. If Siri got stoned and tried for a music career, she’d have more humanity.

I’m not sure what emotion he’s trying to convey because there is nothing there. No happiness at being in a relationship, no sadness over losing one, no regret, no sorrow, no pain … no emotion. If I didn’t read the lyrics, I wouldn’t even know what this song is about because the sound isn’t interesting enough for me to even put forth the effort required to decipher the words in it. Music doesn’t always have to be good (a fact that Maroon 5 ruthlessly abuses), but it does have to be interesting. “Girls Like You” is not.

Every second this song goes on, its beat goes further into cardiac arrest. If there’s a drum machine in the background, it’s not worth mentioning, because it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to spend too much time on Levine’s voice, but still … it’s the lowest of low-hanging fruit, and I refuse to not pick it.

Over the past five years, Levine’s best vocal performances have sounded like the scrape of a fork on a plate, or a squirrel begging for mercy while someone flogs it to death, or even a child who inhaled 20 balloons’ worth of helium and then attempted to sing opera. At his worst, he’s droning nothingness. “Girls Like You” is most definitely in the “worst” category.

When I first heard this song, I didn’t register a human presence. I still didn’t believe it until I tracked down a live version (somehow worse, by the way). Maroon 5 has (for the past decade) been remarkable in one way: sucking. They suck like nobody else does. It takes courage to suck as much as Maroon 5 does, but they don’t just limit their sucking to their sound. It infiltrates their videos as well.

The music video for “Girls Like You” is more dull than anything.

Like the song itself, it opens on a close-up of an acoustic guitar, and then wastes the rest of the runtime on Levine standing in a room, failing to dance to his own beat.

During the video, several female celebrities and activists appear onscreen with Levine. This has led to the song being hailed as an anthem of feminism and the empowerment of women. This might be believable if the entire song weren’t about how he needs the mysterious “girl like you” to fulfill all his own emotional needs without ever considering hers.

There’s not really a lot of analysis that can be done for the video, mostly because … there isn’t a lot of video. The people shown never leave the blank, vaguely blue room for a single painful second. However, the dull, droning terror of this music video doesn’t even begin to compare to the song’s lyrical content.

Maroon 5 sees no need to slowly lean in, no need to dip a toe in the water of sucking. They dive. Levine sings, “Spent 24 hours/ I need more hours with you.” The genius of rhyming “hours” with “hours” is followed by “You spend the weekend/ Getting even, ooh ooh.” I never thought I’d be craving the deep, meaningful lyrics of the Black-Eyed Peas, but here we are.

Nothing about this song makes sense and the lyrics don’t matter. They’re less words than they are sound effects. It seems necessary to point out: these people are professionals.  It is their job to rhyme “you” with “ooh ooh.” After this, we come upon what is supposed to be the second half of the first verse. Then again, it’s also repeated in the second half of the second verse, so it’s really more of a lackluster pre-chorus, followed by a lackluster … chorus? It’s impossible to really tell. There’s no notable change in the sound, but the lyrics do get more repetitive and meaningless, which usually marks the pre-chorus-to-chorus transition in a Maroon 5 song.

“’Cause girls like you/ Run round with guys like me.” You don’t say? Let me get this straight:  there are girls, and they are similar to a “someone,” and they’re running around with guys, who are similar to Adam Levine. “Till sundown, when I come through/ I need a girl like you, yeah yeah” So … a guy like Levine (which I take to mean, someone whose hair gel has seeped too far into his skull) is running around with a girl who is similar to a non-descript person until the sun goes down. After the sun goes down, he has to “come through,” and to do so, he needs this girl. This song is utterly devoid of meaning.

“Girls like you/ Love fun; yeah, me too.”

I will never get past this lyric.

“Girls like you love fun; yeah, me too.”

I want to attend this songwriter’s autopsy just so I can see exactly what severe brain malfunction led to 1) this thought existing, and 2) the belief that this thought needed to be heard by billions of people.

“What I want when I come though/ I need a girl like you, yeah yeah.” Yes, I understand. You are coming through (whatever that really means) and you want a meaningful companion by your side when you do so. Congratulations, you are exactly like 99 percent of humanity.

“Yeah yeah yeah/ yeah yeah yeah/ I need a girl like you, yeah yeah.”

OK …

“Yeah yeah yeah/ yeah yeah yeah/ I need a girl like you, yeah yeah.”

If I had a bitcoin for every time Levine has said “yeah” to fill space on a song in the past decade, each one of the 21 million existing bitcoins would be in circulation. But onto the second verse, before I go insane.

“I spent last night/ On the last flight to you” Gold star for a complete, coherent thought.

“Took a whole day up/ Trying to get way up, ooh ooh.” Is this the entirety of the song? Could it be this blessedly short?

Of course not.

“Maybe it’s 6:45.” Look at your watch.

“Maybe I’m barely alive.” Sounds like it.

“Maybe you’ve taken my sh*t for the last time.” Is the relationship collapsing now? Because … I can’t tell. This song is devoid of feeling.

“Maybe I know that I’m drunk.” Number of syllables he could’ve cut by just saying “I’m drunk”:  5.

“Maybe I know you’re the one.” Number of syllables he could’ve cut by just saying “you’re the one”:  4

“Maybe I’m thinking it’s better if you drive.” This would make more sense if he cut out all the maybes and useless filler words, and it would be shorter. Win-win. If I ever hear this song again, somebody please do me the kindness of killing me right then and there. Make it quick and painless.

Overall, “Girls Like You” is the perfect song for 2018 — because it’s utterly devoid of meaning and significance.

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