At Least He Took His Shirt Off? Maroon 5’s Super Bowl Halftime Show (Review)

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What can I say about Maroon 5’s mediocre Super Bowl Halftime Show that wasn’t already clearly outlined by the rest of the blogosphere? I think we’re all in agreement that it 1.) Lacked any enthralling ingredient and 2.) Adam Levine is still very easy on the eyes.

One of the most interesting parts about the show were the moments leading up to it. Maroon 5 (fun fact: there’s more than 5 of them) performing was one of the worst kept secrets in recent history. The NFL didn’t really bother refuting the rumors either, and it wasn’t long before the band confirmed what we already knew. From the start, it was an uphill battle to give a s–t, because where the hell is P!nk, or Britney Spears, or JLo? Give the people what they want.

The guys had a few opportunities to create some hype, like including a cameo from Cardi B, who’s featured on their song “Girls Like You,” but she refused to perform because of the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick. I had my fingers crossed for a surprise Xtina cameo on “Moves Like Jagger,” but the night’s recurring theme was disappointment, and welp at least we got a bleeped Travis Scott and Big Boi?

I could’ve written this review last week and had it ready to post the minute Adam Levine’s toned, sweaty abs left the oversized “M” stage at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Super Bowl Sunday. His gleaming, tatted six-pack was the only literal highlight amidst a sea of moments that didn’t translate. Remember when Lady Gaga traversed from the ceiling and caught a football mid-air? Remember when Aerosmith, Britney Spears and *NSYNC made a pop mod podge? When Prince cycled through four different guitars? Or when Michael Jackson commanded the stage with a moon walk? Or B-E-Y-O-N-C-E? Remember when Super Bowl Halftime Show performances were spectacular? We were given Sponge Bob Square Pants and drones spelling out the words ‘one’ and ‘love,’ and no one seems to feel one way or love it. We’re all just left thinking, ‘MEH ¯\_(ツ)_/¯,’ and that’s a scary place to be.

I’ll give credit where credit’s due (not referring to his abs again, though give me a minute cause I’m pretty heated he can show two nipples and Janet Jackson can’t even show one); Maroon 5’s setlist was pretty perfect. It’s hard to imagine someone under 50 isn’t at least a little familiar with “Harder to Breathe,” or “This Love,” or “Sugar,” because the world incessantly played the band’s music prior to the streaming era. Now we have a choice to like Maroon 5 or not, and the jury is out.

On paper, this should have been a success – millions of albums sold, countless live shows, hit after hit – but if I could capture their entire performance in a bottle and explain it to a martian, I’d show them a few seconds of Levine bopping next to Big Boi during “The Way You Move.” Whose idea was it to let the rapper sing half an Outkast song with Andre 3000 nowhere to be found? When the camera panned up I saw the drones quickly spell out the word ‘STOP.’ That happened, right? Did I imagine that? My mind was wandering quite a lot.

This review feels quite pointless. I just spent 30 minutes trash talking a show you already know was trash. You’re just as guilty as I am in indulging, but there’s something quite human about wanting to unite together in the sake of sharing a mutual feeling of resentment, disdain and a general sense of boredom. No, you won’t get your 13-minutes back from watching powder mashed potatoes in the shape of Maroon 5 performing at the Super Bowl, nor your ~3 minutes from reading my impassioned post, but there’s something important to take away from this. Pop music has never felt more disingenuous and flat. Maroon 5’s PC, inoffensive display of nothingness was viewed by millions of people during a time when being outspoken is more important than ever. Music makes the people come together, and that didn’t happen on Sunday. There’s a colossal divide amongst Americans, but the NFL made it a point to empower sameness. Instead of embracing change, or growth, they carried on as they always have, a multi-million dollar corporation that turns a blind eye to inequality, and they got Maroon 5 to be the mascot for it.

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