Track Review: Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar, ‘Don’t Wanna Know’
Adam Levine and Maroon 5 come over too breezy and too lightweight on new single “Don’t Wanna Know” featuring Kendrick Lamar.
Maroon 5 is back! After dropping an album jam-pack with hits (V in 2014), Adam Levine and company returns with breezy, pop single, “Don’t Wanna Know.” Adding the “cherry on top,” Kendrick Lamar assists. With such star power, “Don’t Wanna Know” can’t fail, right? Well…
“Don’t Wanna Know” opens with the typical electro-pop bag of tricks. For better or worse, this has become the band’s identity as of late. As far as the production, it’s slick, though not necessarily distinct from other records gracing pop radio. Good in this regard, but unexceptional. Arguably, the exceptionalness of the collective has been questioned for a couple albums now, but that’s a topic for another time.
Vocally, Adam Levine sounds smooth. Nothing new here. His upper-register pipes remain potent, nearly fifteen years after Songs About Jane. He never pushes, which can be perceived as a pro or a con. When Levine pushed in “Animals” for example, it added extra oomph and bite. Here, “Don’t Wanna Know” could use more grit and edge. Expectedly, the chorus is catchy, if simple:
“I don’t wanna know, know, know, know / who’s taking you home, home, home, home / and loving you so, so, so, so / the way I used to love you, no…”
Kendrick Lamar drops the third verse. While it adds a toughness that the record lacks overall, this isn’t the crème de la crème by K-Dot standards. Essentially, this is the obligatory rap feature that has become cliché in pop circles. In other words, depth isn’t the M.O.
First impressions are important. In regards to the first impression of “Don’t Wanna Know,” the record is average at best. Maroon 5 have released numerous hits, and “Don’t Wanna Know” doesn’t pack the same punch as their most memorable records. Does it have the potential to be a hit? Yes. Is this a transcendent song or performance? No. Respectable, but not exceptional.
Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar • Don’t Wanna Know [single] • Interscope • Release: 10.12.16