The Wake-Up Song From Hell: Maroon 5’s “Maps”


Whatever you do, don’t set your alarm radio to a radio station that has this song on rotation. You won’t like what happens next…

I’ve got some beef with the new Maroon 5 song, “Maps.” Before I get into it let me just say I’m not a fan of the band. I would never let that happen, though I suppose there’s a little bit of 90’s nostalgia that comes in play whenever one of their songs shows up on the radio.

This new album of their’s is the first new music they’ve done in a while, and somehow it helps me feel a little younger to know that Maroon 5 is still making new music and that that music is actually on the radio in heavy rotation. This isn’t like a Backstreet Boy reunion album that nobody cares about. Maroon 5 is somehow still relevant…to someone out there.

So I guess for me Maroon 5 is sort of a good thing. It’s got nothing to do with their ability to write or perform or record music. I don’t even want to pass judgement on their general music catalogue, because I’m not even close to their target demographic in the first place (I think, I hope). Instead, it has to do with the fact that I remember back when they first came out. I remember what I said and what I did pretty clearly. I said “Not another freaking band with a number in it’s title” and I did an eye roll.

“I actually looked forward to hearing the song again just to verify I wasn’t hallucinating.”

Back in the 90’s when Adam Levine and co. were trying to decide on a name, there was this trend where bands indiscriminately popped a number—any number—into their name as a sort of garnish. Matchbox 20, Blink 182, 3 Doors Down, Third Eye Blind. Incidentally all of these bands kinda sounded alike—not in any way you could really put your finger on, but in a strange corporate way. Sanitized. I guess you could say they all sounded a bit too “by the numbers.” Anyway, the Numbers virus eventually ran its course, and almost all of those Number bands have become extinct.

I sort of thought Maroon 5 was no more. Gone the way of the dodo. I knew Adam Levine had significantly extended his five minutes via being on The Voice, but I’ve always thought being on a reality show meant giving up on yourself as an artist and/or person. Because thereafter you’d be “the guy on the Voice” or “the dude from Survivor” or whatever. You’d lose whatever mystique you had.

Not this time. Levine got the band back together and they’re putting out a brand new album. At least one of the Numbers bands had managed to come back from extinction (perhaps with the aide of frog DNA). They’ve a single tearing up the popular radio stations called “Maps.”

And here comes my beef. For reasons described above, I was pleasantly surprised the first time I heard “Maps” on the radio. Not pleased with the song, but pleased at the successful revival of one of the Numbers bands. Again, made me feel just a bit younger.

“He sounds like each time he’s singing the word “youuuuUUU,” he’s also abruptly and violently adjusting his tighty whiteys.”

Now I don’t go around listening to popular radio stations all the time—in fact I never listen to the radio at all, except briefly in the morning. I have my alarm clock tuned in to one of them “popular” stations and I’m too lazy to change it. Plus they do funny prank call skits every once in a while. Prank call skits can be a real trip when you’re still halfway dreaming.

Anyway, I woke up one day to the new Maroon 5 song, “Maps,” and, though happy for the band, I soon started writhing around in my bed like a freshly demented Linda Blaire. “This song freaking sucks!” I held my ears, growled into my pillow.

“Maps” definitely has that same corporately polished feel I’ve always associated with the Numbers bands, though it has one daring moment of dapper doo. When Levine sings and repeats the lines “the map that leads to youuuu” he kinda weirdly flings the final note upwards at the last possible “u.” He sounds like each time he’s singing the word “youuuuUUU,” he’s also abruptly and violently adjusting his tighty whiteys.

Listen to the song and you’ll see what I mean. Actually watch the video, it’s pretty ridiculous. It’s heavy, man. Real heavy.


I didn’t hit the snooze button immediately, and that was my big mistake. I was too busy squirming around like a snake with its head cut off. I listened to the whole song. I let it sink in. God I hated that underwear-adjusting “you” note. When the song was over I was like: Did he really do that? Did I really just hear that, or was I still dreaming?

I actually looked forward to hearing the song again just to verify I wasn’t hallucinating. And hear the song again I most certainly did… 

This is one of those radio stations that unapologetically plays the same song multiple times per hour. And, sure enough, “Maps” was again my wake-up song the next morning. And the next and the next. And each time I writhed a bit less. Soon I wasn’t writhing at all. Each time I looked forward the the “you” note in the same way a kid looks forward to seeing Optimus Prime when watching a Transformers movie.

Soon I was literally waking up with a fully realized fist pump, as if I had been dreaming I was at a rock concert and simply transitioned the dream fist pump into a real-life fist pump. “The map that leads to youuuUUUUU!” I’d go from morning grogginess to actively and enthusiastically singing along to “Maps” in the blink of a crusty eye. I’d been compromised by a Numbers band.

And so its been for the last few weeks. Every morning: “The map that leads to youuuUUUU!” Fist pump. Singing along. By having this song blasted into my ears every morning—when my defensive linemen are scattered and sluggish—Maroon 5 has somehow weaseled through for a touchdown.

Their stupid stupid song has been fused into my brain by sheer repetition and weird “you” singing. I’ve been reprogrammed against my will, like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange when they had to prop his eyes open and make him watch all those videos. I made a similar face each time I heard “Maps.”

So what’s my beef with Maroon 5’s new song?

I like the damn thing, is my beef.

Acceptance is the first step toward recovery. Or so they say.

So, in answer to today’s Daily Post writing prompt, which asked us to pick a song that will forever after remind us of Summer 2014, I didn’t even have to think too hard about it. This has been the easiest post I’ve ever written.


Check out the writing prompt at the Daily Post: Musical Marker. Maybe I’m not the only one whose been compromised by this friggin song. 

How about you, Readers? Anyone else get reprogrammed by “Maps?”


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12 Responses to The Wake-Up Song From Hell: Maroon 5’s “Maps”

  1. Okay, so first of all, Adam Levine and his obnoxious pop outfit used to rehearse at a rehearsal studio my husband owned way back when. They are all offspring of record company moguls, which may justify their success. Originally, the name of the band was Kara’s Flowers, if that in anyway leads to the maroon or the 5, I don’t know, kind of sounds like a bad paint job.

    Anyway, I do know how you feel. There are so many songs on the radio that I instantly hate and will change the station every time they come on. But because there are so many of these insipid songs, they begin to grow on me, kind of like mold. Usually my children have to remind me that I hate whatever song is playing so I will be prompted to change the station.

    • Bill Carson says:

      wow, thanks the for insider information. That totally makes sense! They’re all basically trust fund babies. Geez, Kara’s Flowers? I don’t even know what to say to that. Would have been more fitting, I think. Really makes the name “Maroon 5” seem like a genius idea.

      Actually, isn’t Maroon an old-school insult? As in, “Johnny just walked into the wall? What a maroon!” I’m pretty sure Bugs Bunny used to say it all the time. Perhaps their band’s name is more fitting then we’ve ever realized!

  2. Doobster418 says:

    Is it just me, or do Maroon 5’s songs sound just like Beyonce’s songs, which sound just like Rihanna’s songs, which sound just like….

  3. amiewrites74 says:

    “Overexposed” actually came out a couple of years ago. “Maps” is on the soon-to-be released album “V.” (Don’t ask me how I know these things) So get ready for several more of their sanitized pop songs to hit your radio soon…

    The song has grown on me also. Maybe because the radio station plays it a thousand times a day. But the video is just bad… laughably bad.

    • Bill Carson says:

      thanks for the heads up — i’ll make the correction. I guess I couldn’t even be bothered to do proper research! Yeah, that video is pretty funny. I only saw it for the first time today, but it’s totally added to my future anti-enjoyment of this song.

  4. zareenn3 says:

    I used to like maroon 5. Until I read your post. I JUST heard the song. So irritating. You found the yoooous disturbing? What about the following following?! Ugh!

    • Bill Carson says:

      hahaha. I was going to have a second post JUST to address the “following following following.” It’s very funny. And actually, it’s a tongue twister too. Try and say it three times in a row real fast like he does in the song. very difficult.

      • zareenn3 says:

        That is one irritating song. Really, he could do better. Even if he writes only love songs.
        Oh god! I can’t get it out of my head! What have you done Bill!

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