We deserved Maroon 5’s bland Super Bowl halftime show


Courtesy Wikipedia

Matt Hooke, Development Editor

Maroon 5 is the white bread of music.

They are so plain and inoffensive that it is hard to hate them, but it’s also hard to love them. There have been few bands as ubiquitous and long-lasting in the realms of top 40 hitmakers while also lacking any flavor and substance. Much like how no one has ever said “my favorite food is white bread,” the phrase “Maroon 5 is my favorite band” is a rare one to hear.

Maroon 5 is a pastiche of a million different pop-rock bands turned into the Frankenstein’s monster of pop music, checking off every box of a hit-making band without bringing many original thoughts. During Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show in Atlanta, singer Adam Levine displayed a strange attempt to emulate the danger and energy of prime rock ’n’ roll with a couple guitar solos and even an attempt to replicate punk’s shirtless stars like Iggy Pop. Unfortunately, Levine’s tattoos resemble the result of a tattoo artist throwing up the lyrics to a bad Red Hot Chili Peppers song across some poor soul’s unfortunate body, with tattoos like “CALIFORNIA” making him more of an unintentionally comedic figure than a sex symbol.

The Super Bowl halftime show had a chance to redeem itself with one moment, but failed instead by giving us one of the worst teases in recent pop culture memory. For a brief moment, we were offered the first few notes of the Spongebob classic “Sweet Victory,” from the episode “Band Geeks,” in which Squidward tries to turn the residents of Bikini Bottom into a marching band. The horn section from the song graced our screens to build the anticipation.

Travis Scott yelled “it’s lit” as my heart prepared itself for Maroon 5 covering “Sweet Victory” with Scott ad libbing and Big Boi rapping a verse. Alas, this was not to be, as Scott instead shifted to “Sicko Mode,” which made little sense since Drake, the other artist featured on the track, was absent for the night.

Big Boi’s too short performance of “The Way You Move” in a giant fur coat after riding up to the stage in a Cadillac was as great and memorable as one would expect. Big Boi yelling “Atl Hoe” was one of the few human moments of the corporate night and one of the few times the rich musical history of Atlanta was mentioned.  

Big Boi and Scott’s presence didn’t make any sense in light of the headliner. Big Boi, former member of Outkast, and Travis Scott are two of the most innovative figures in hip-hop, representing two different generations of Southern music. Why shackle them to the bland and out of date Maroon 5? What is the point of forcing three artists from completely different genres who have never collaborated before to work together for a single concert?

Many critiqued the three artists for accepting the gig in the first place. Pop superstars Cardi B and Rihanna boycotted the event as a show of support toward Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback. Kaepernick, in an echo of the blacklisting of the “Hollywood Ten” during the 1950s Red Scare, has been exiled from the NFL since he kneeled during the national anthem in protest of how police disproportionately target African-Americans in this country.  

Perhaps that’s why the show was as bland as it was. The show marked one of the most controversial in the league’s history, so it was only natural to get the least controversial band possible to perform. The halftime show could have been a great showcase of the rich, diverse musical history of Atlanta, a history that was hinted at by Big Boi, but we instead got generic top 40 hits.

Since the NFL treated Kaepernick with abject disdain for protesting the deaths of innocent people and our country’s racial inequalities, the NFL deserved much worse than a lukewarm Maroon 5 performance.