Released Today — Maroon 5: Hands All Over

I’m nothing if not a bit stubborn. Okay, kind of more than a bit. I have a tendency to judge books by covers. I tend to judge bands by one or two singles played every 48 minutes in some radio station’s rotation. This habit of mine means I kind of miss out on a lot.

This is the case with John Mayer. I hated “Your Body Is A Wonderland” – I hated it even worse once someone told me that during sound check, he would sing it as “Your body is a taco stand.” I mean, it’s kind of funny. But. Really, JM. No. But then I saw him live – and was BLOWN. AWAY. And now? Huge fan. Of his music and his writing, anyway. But really, I would have missed out if I had written him off from the Wonderland/Taco Stand debacle. I’d have missed out on “In Your Atmosphere” and “Heart of Life” – and that’d have been seriously bad.

Same case with Maroon 5. Last summer, they were touring with the Counting Crows – it was a double bill – and they alternated opening for the other. Some nights, CC would open, some nights M5 would open. The night of the show, I said, “Man, I hope Counting Crows open so that I don’t have to stay for the whole show. It’s a long drive home.”

And Counting Crows opened. I was all set to duck out midway through Maroon 5’s set.

Then they came out and put on a phenomenal show. And when they sang “I Won’t Go Home Without You”, the venue was lit by the glow of thousands of cell phone faces (which I think is way cooler than lighters, because hello? I can’t be the only one who has been afraid the person behind me would slip and set me on fire, and I don’t smoke and I don’t carry a lighter so I always felt kinda left out).

And since then? Yep. I’m a fan.

So, when I received the opportunity to preview Maroon 5’s new album “Hands All Over“*, I kind of jumped at the chance. And it’s been on perma-rotation in my ear for the past few days.

This album is totally alike and different than Maroon 5’s previous releases. My gut reaction is that this wasn’t a huge departure from anything they’ve ever done – I stand by that – this sound is still recognizably Maroon 5. The lyrics are still pretty typical fare from their frontman, Adam Levine.

What’s new this time around? Well, producer “Mutt” Lange, for one. If that name sounds familiar, it should. He is the former hubby of Shania Twain (and yeah, he produced A LOT of her music). These songs are polished and clean. This is definitely an accessible album – very radio-friendly, catchy, hook-filled tunes. Infectious melodies.

One of the album’s standouts for me was the greatest departure from their trademark sound – “Out of Goodbyes”, their collaboration with country crossover group, Lady Antebellum. The slowed down country feel and harmonies doesn’t scream “MAROON 5!” to me – but… I love it, nonetheless. Or maybe because of it.

The first single, “Misery” is undeniably Maroon 5 – evoking to me, their sound on “This Love” — this is what I expect and know (and like) from Maroon 5.

There are very few low points to this album – the title song “Hands All Over” was my least favorite track – but so many songs on this album (“Just a Feeling”, “I Can’t Lie”, “Stutter”, “Out of Goodbyes”) were so immensely likable, I don’t doubt this album will be getting a lot of play on my iPod.

*affiliate link

A review copy of this album was received but the opinions as always are my own.

Weekly Winners, Week Ending 03/06/10

For more Weekly Winners, visit the lovely hostess, Lotus of I Am Lotus and check out and give some comment love to the others participating!

Kicked off the week with the John Mayer concert on Sunday. You know why I love this picture? Check the face of the girl on the screen behind him. It CRACKS ME UP.

Reflections. I got a little bored at my bake sale Wednesday and took a selfy via the window of the office building. (BONUS: I raised over $300 by selling cookies and sweets – I’m so jazzed to have raised so much moohlah for a good cause)

To the butterfly gardens yesterday. This lovely creature landed on my hand and stayed there enough for me to snap a few shots. Of course, I was in such direct sunlight that lighting conditions aren’t ideal, but there’s just no reasoning with a butterfly.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a blue morpho butterfly? No? Well, here’s the thing: THEY FLY REALLY FAST. And when they land, they shut their wings tight like this. Still pretty, but… I sat there for the longest time waiting for it to fly off, and then when it did… it was just too fast to capture. Like I said, there’s no reasoning with butterflies.

“Sarah? Did you just take a picture of the barrel cactus? I knew you would take a picture of that.”

I’m not sure what this is for, but it caught my eye.

She waited SO PATIENTLY and stood so still – and yet… she remained empty handed.

Aw yeah. National Oreo Day. That’s what I’m talking about. And of course, if you have a fresh pack of Oreos, you should totally make a tower. Or play Oreo Jenga.

Thursday Ten: Hey Bronchitis GO AWAY edition

1. Wrapped up a round of antibiotics on Sunday for this stupid bronchitis and within two days, all the wheezing and coughing came back.  And it feels worse. This is the third day of Round Two of antibiotics and I don’t feel any better. I’m kind of a big whiny baby when I’m sick.

2. I’m wearing a WHOLE LOTTA GREEN today because the ROOM 704 March edition is LIVE. Go check it out – lots of amazing (and laugh so hard you pee a little) posts from the girls of 704. Including me. I even posted a recipe even though you guys know I really don’t cook much. It’s okay, it’s an easy recipe – it only involves opening cans and jars. Just my style. Anyway, I haven’t even read all the posts yet because I’m savoring the awesomeness, but you – when you’re done reading this list GO OVER THERE.

3. Sunday night, John Mayer was in town and we went. A lot of people either love or hate John Mayer (the word that comes up frequently is “douchebag”, I know). But musically, I was not a fan of the dude until I saw him live the first time, and I just can’t help myself: I LIKE HIM. Michael Franti & Spearhead were the amazing opening act, and they rocked it as well. Happy happy.

Michael Franti & Spearhead - if you don't know them, LOOK THEM UP.

Michael Franti & Spearhead - if you don't know them, LOOK THEM UP.

4. Yesterday, I hosted a bake sale to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I spent all day Tuesday preparing massive amounts of baked goods (from chocolate chip cookies to lemon squares to brownies to cheesecake) and in about three and a half hours raised over $300 for the cause. Yes, I’m insanely happy about that. The power of cookies is surreal.

5. Melissa challenged me last week to introduce my kids to the FLUFFERNUTTER SANDWICH – marshmallow cream and peanut butter. Well, challenge accepted. Pumpkin loved it. The Princess apparently forgot to add the peanut butter to hers. The next challenge is to try this grilled, like a grilled cheese… perhaps with a  lil bit of chocolate involved.

6. Last week, I had a ear for older music – for some reason, I was humming Fleetwood Mac’s “Seven Wonders” for a few days before I decided to gave and buy it and reintroduce that part of the 80s to my music library. Lately, I haven’t purchased anything that was recorded in the past decade though. What am I missing?

7. American Idol – who is watching it? I don’t think I’ve missed a season yet, but admittedly, this is the part I hate: the part in between the rotten auditions and when you start actually caring if certain people stay or go. At this point, I’m mostly just annoyed. And yet… somehow I keep watching.

8. As I type this, Pumpkin is giving me big kisses on my face. That’s definitely better than a stick in the eye.

9. Saturday is NATIONAL OREOS DAY. Will you celebrate? And do you eat your cookies whole or do you break ’em apart and eat the middle first?

10. In guitar lesson today, I started working on Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Chain”. The song features piano but it translates pretty easily to guitar – also, it’s a pretty easy learn. I love this song – it’s quirky and the melody is one of my favorites.

Thursday Ten: It’s Because of the Arpeggios Edition

1. Guitar lessons continue to go alright – today, I learned “We Three Kings” (which I can now add to my holiday music arsenal, along with “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night”). I also learned the first bit of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – because my teacher was trying to teach me about arpeggios. Yes, I have heard of Blue Oyster Cult. No, I probably wouldn’t know the song if I got it in “Name that Tune”. Next week, she says she’ll teach me parts of “Taylor” by Jack Johnson, which makes me very happy because I love Jack Johnson.

2. Cheetos? They are good. I love Cheetos. Every Thursday, I manage to forget to eat lunch before I go to guitar lesson, so when I got home today I was starving. I cracked open some Cheetos. I was chatting with a girlfriend of mine, telling her my keyboard was now covered with artificial cheese – she replied: “Cheetos: ur doing it right.” We decided that Cheetos were like cheesy, orange crack – which under most circumstances we all agree would be bad. When it comes to Cheetos, though, we make an exception.

3. This weekend is the Michigan/Michigan State football game. GOOOO BLUE. (However, I am not terribly optimistic).

4. I got another HUGE pile of magazines in the mail today. I’m not even caught up from the last round. Today’s mail included another copy of Cookie magazine (which I would NEVER pay for, by the way – it was a free subscription and I don’t love the magazine), Rolling Stone, Good Housekeeping and Health. I love magazines.

5. It’s my mom’s boss’s birthday tomorrow and he’s on some diet plan that allows very few sweets but apparently gives the thumbs up to rice crispy treats. My mother, however, is “baked goods” inept (I hesitate to use the term baked goods, because I hardly would put the rice crispy treat in that category). She actually asked me to make them for her. This is why I know how to bake. As soon as I could read, my mom had me take over the baking projects. This morning she dropped off marshmallows and rice crispies and tomorrow she’ll pick them up on her way to work. Like I’m the freakin’ snack drive through.

6. The Princess came home today and told me a mean boy in her class gave her a piece of paper today with the words “Poop you” written on it (Kids. What the hell are they thinking?). I asked if she showed the teacher. “No, mom,” she said, “but I recycled it.” That’s my girl.

7. New music this week: LOTS. Some of it isn’t so “new”, but new to my collection anyway. “3×5” John Mayer; “U Want Me 2” Sarah McLachlan; “Bad Girlfriend” Theory of a Deadman; “A Sorta Fairytale” Tori Amos; “Bizarre Love Triangle” New Order; aaaaaaaand “Miss Independent” (not Kelly Clarkson) Ne-Yo. Why yes, I’m working on a birthday iTunes gift card.

8. I miss Project Runway.

9. Pumpkin is doing much better with her sleeping… and if she sleeps through tonight, I’m taking her out for donuts for breakfast tomorrow. Bribery – I never thought I’d be that kind of parent but when it comes to me getting my sleep, it’s totally worth it because I need my sleep.

10. Soooo, “High School Musical 3” – how many people getting suckered into taking their kids this weekend?