Maroon 5 returns with a vapid and soulless single, “Beautiful Mistakes” (ft. Megan Thee Stallion), released March 3. Despite an impressive feature from Megan thee Stallion, it offers nothing new lyrically and musically — lead vocalist Adam Levine has failed to move past a breakup, it seems, for years.
Soft guitar and pop trap beats begin the song, echoing elements of the hit single “Mood” by Iann Dior and 24kGoldn. The song’s premise has potential. Levine embodies a person unable to move past a relationship because he sees it through rose-colored glasses. He vaguely reminisces about a past relationship he is clearly romanticizing and idealizing, omitting much of the messiness and intricacies that come with a relationship, as he sings, “I fill my days with the way you walk / And fill my nights with broken dreams.”
On the other hand, Megan Thee Stallion’s persona looks to the future, evidently having moved on from the relationship. Her lyrics are specific and explicit, suggesting retrospective lucidity as she adopts a much more realistic view of the same relationship. She raps, “Prove it, if you made a promise then keep it (keep it) / Why you wanna lie and then get mad? I don’t believe it (Boy bye.)”
But that is the extent to which the song is “beautiful”: The rest is just a series of “mistakes.”
Levine’s lyrics rarely stray from rote rhythmic patterns. This, coupled with his flat and emotionless vocals, renders Levine’s parts of the single repetitive, metronomic and mechanical.
This is completely juxtaposed by the song’s heartfelt lyrics that yearn for a great past love, making Levine’s narrative highly unconvincing at worst and jarring at best. He sings, “It’s beautiful, it’s bittersweet,” with none of the emotion and persuasion. To listeners, it’s neither: It’s boring and annoyingly repetitive.
Meanwhile, Megan’s verse is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stifling song. As a champion of female sexuality, Megan’s raps are always charismatic and powerful. Although “Beautiful Mistakes” is no exception, this time, she does it with an underlying sense of vulnerability and the sensitivity of someone undergoing a breakup.
She opts for a much softer musical approach, and thereby showcases her versatility as an all-around musician. Her rap experiments with flow, and her bridge is a pleasant surprise — her singing outshines that of Levine’s. Moreover, she is able to build much better rapport with the audience through witty lyrics that still betray a certain level of hurt despite the swagger.
Through “Beautiful Mistakes,” Maroon 5 prove once again that they’ll do whatever’s trending in pop music — but with no promise that it’ll be done well. As for Megan, this single is a testament to her impressive range as a musician. The emotional vulnerability she embodies in the single suits her, and it’s something to look forward to in her future tracks.
Hopefully, Maroon 5’s upcoming seventh studio album will be much better than its lead single. Megan Thee Stallion, on the other hand, leaves listeners wanting more.
Contact Gracie Chung at [email protected].