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Track Review

Howard Stern has famously declared himself King of All Media. But from the looks of things, he's got nothing on Adam Levine, who seems to be everywhere these days.

The Maroon 5 frontman has been showing up on NBC's singing competition The Voice since 2011. And he's now added acting to his résumé, starring alongside Keira Knightley in the indie film Begin Again.

For Maroon 5's fifth album, V, he's teaming up with two of the music world's biggest hit-making producers: Ryan Tedder and Max Martin. "Maps" is the first single from that release. It's about what happens and what you should do when the one you love with all your heart decides to shred you. (Never mind that Levine is by all accounts currently happily engaged to Namibian supermodel Behati Prinsloo.)

Lots of musicians would just mope their way through a song like this. Not Levine. He pushes back the melancholy by dreaming up a plan. Actually, a "map" that will help him track down the woman he can't get out of his head and heart.

And his determined pursuit is as charmingly endearing as it is unnervingly unhealthy.

First, the broken heart part: "I like to think that we had it all/We drew a map to a better place/But on that road, I took a fall/Oh, baby, why did you run away?" Sure, he'll admit to that fall, but he still doesn't think he's to blame. "I was there for you/In your darkest times," he insists. "I was there for you in your darkest night." But the woman in question just didn't reciprocate that level of sacrificial commitment: "I wonder, Where were you/When I was at my worst?/Down on my knees/And you said you had my back/So I wonder, Where were you?"

Clearly there's a legitimate grievance here: He cared for her needs, she didn't pay much mind to his. And ... then she left. Heartbreak or not, the wise response would be to say "good riddance."

But that's not what happens.

Instead, Levine decides the best thing to do with a woman running away from him is ... to ... chase her down.

I can tell right now that this is going to end so well.

Still, I have to say that I admire, on one level, the lovelorn man's deep determination to reconnect with the woman he loves. "So I'm following the map that leads to you/The map that leads to you," Adam sings romantically, sounding for all the world like Sting in a latter-day incarnation of The Police (oddly, with strains of One Direction too). "Ain't nothing I can do/The map leads to you/Following, following, following to you."

Awww ...

But ... um, OK, erm ... what happens if he actually finds her?

Will his dogged pursuit yield a love reborn? Will it transform his lady love into a strong and supportive soul mate?

Somehow I doubt it. A strong restraining order (or worse) seems more likely.

Not that the song ever goes that deep.

The video, on the other hand? It adds a shouted f-word, heavy drinking, an underwear-clad girlfriend and a bloody (fatal) car accident to lovelorn mix.

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Reached No. 6.

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June 17, 2014

On Video

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