Maroon 5 + The Walkmen | Tracks
On “Payphone,” Maroon 5 are in need of some change. With a bigger budget, have the Walkmen changed too much?
Published: April 26, 2012
The Walkmen are tired of being unfamous. You can hear it now in the antiseptic silence. Their old music had ambience. It used to sound like Christmas at midnight. Organs twinkled and echoed. Ringing guitars had the bright and lonely yellow glow of a Hopper painting. Hamilton Leithauser sang as if he had a Scotch tumbler and ashy cigarette in one hand. Now the well-dressed ’Men are working with a pro producer, Phil Ek, who erases much of the character in the name of pop punch. Funny, cleaned up, the fivesome is like U2, if it had a rockabilly guitarist. The band jumps out of the gate at full speed…and doggedly sticks to what it’s doing for four minutes. The tune is a desert highway in need of hills, dips and curves. At least this title track has vim and velocity. The Walkmen’s first record admitted, “They’re Winning.” The chorus here booms, “Remember all we fight for!” The underdog spirit remains. But what happens if they get a victory?