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Track Review

Summer has always been known for its lighter fare, especially when it comes to music. And with "Moves Like Jagger," Maroon 5—with some help from Christina Aguilera—offer up what could be characterized as the musical equivalent of a limeade Slurpee.

The track, which many music critics predict will become one of the summer's biggest hits, features Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine's trademark high tenor over the band's equally recognizable clean guitar chording. It's a sound with a vaguely '70s vibe paired with a thoroughly modern dance club beat and a lilting, earworm hook. What that means is that the song's whistled melody is something you might catch yourself whistling unconsciously—days after you've heard it.

The title telegraphs the song's superficial subject matter. In a nutshell, Levine suavely promises to wow a woman with "moves" reminiscent of The Rolling Stones' famous frontman, Mick Jagger. Levine's take on Mick's body language fills the first verses of the song before he's joined by Christina Aguilera, his fellow coach on NBC's reality show/singing competition The Voice. (Both Levine and Christina obviously understand the massive marketing platform The Voice affords them. They debuted the song on the show, which led to one of the highest chart debut either has had in years.)

"I put on a show, now I make it," Levine begins a bit suggestively. Then he tosses some profanity into the proceedings: "You said I'm a kid, my ego is big/I don't give a s‑‑‑." That's followed by a sensual dose of full-on Jagger swagger: "I don't need to try to control you/Look into my eyes and I'll own you." And things don't end there, of course. "Take me by the tongue and I'll know you," Levine instructs. "Kiss me 'til you're drunk and I'll show you/All the moves like Jagger."

Village Voice blogger Maura Johnston says of those sensual—and a bit odd—lyrics, "Adam Levine instructs his lover to 'take [him] by the tongue,' which, sure, the Rolling Stones have that logo, but first, ow, and second, that's not the body part I think of first when conjuring up images of Mick Jagger's mouth. I guess nothing really good rhymed with [Gene] 'Simmons'?"

As for Christina, she adds her own sultry innuendo with, "You wanna know how to make me smile/Take control, own me just for the night/ … Head to toe, ooh baby, rub me right/But if I share my secret, you're gonna have to keep it/Nobody else can see this."

Amid all this coy flirtation, Levine tries to cheer up his apparently discouraged paramour: "Maybe it's hard when you feel like/You're broken and scarred, nothing feels right/But when you're with me/I'll make you believe that I've got the key." But that's about it when it comes to anything approximating a positive message here … or a message at all, for that matter.

"Moves Like Jagger" may not be quite as naughtily indulgent as hits from the likes of Britney, Katie, Gaga and Ke$ha these days. But even if the song lacks heaps of egregious content, it also lacks something else: substance. Like a frozen summertime drink, it offers a refreshing hook that ultimately offers no real no real sustenance.

Is that a brain freeze I feel coming on?

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Hit No. 1.

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June 21, 2011

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Meredith Whitmore

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