“MAROON 5 GOES ROGUE: A Harsh Critique of ‘Animals'” | TBL Pt. 2

MAROON 5 GOES ROGUE: A Harsh Critique of “Animals”

By Femme

I enrolled in a Gender and Communications course this semester. The class is super engaging, and I’m working with two awesome guys on a really cool final project. We are looking at the way men and women interact in the bar scene. We quite literally say, “Let me buy you a drink; it’s qualitative research.” True story. Best. Project. Ever. So–I’m functioning off of three hours sleep and I feel like I’ve been writing about predatory language for days. BUT, I felt so strongly about this I had to write it.

I came across something that caught my attention on The Frisky, a short and sweet piece that gave Maroon 5 a rape culture report card for their new video “Animals.” So naturally, I had to watch it–and I almost wish I hadn’t. I was offended on a deep, DEEP emotional level—-it kind of assaulted my soul. I watched with a disgusted, twisted face as the blood driped over Adam Levine’s body. Why, Adam? Why?

DO NOT mistake my aversion to this video as an aversion to all things gruesome. Zombie, vampire, and horror flicks are among my favorites; the more gore the better. I appreciate that stuff. My friend Lobo calls me Miercoles; yes, that’s a reference to Wednesday Addams. Yes, I wear a lot of black. Yes, I am honored.

That video, though. Damn. I am severely unimpressed. And horrified. And yeah, I guess a little shocked. I’m shocked that anyone would make this video. As I really never stop thinking about rhetoric, I found myself wondering who was their intended audience. Who were they expecting to watch this absurd, rape-y, stalker video and admittedly like it? It could serve as a warning sign. If you like it, you may just want to re-evaluate your entire being. It’s a public safety hazard.

I cringe when I say this, but some may consider it a catchy song. That’s all fine and dandy; just know what you’re singing along to:

Baby, I’m preying on you tonight

Hunt you down eat you alive

Just like animals

Animals

Like animals

Maybe you think that you can hide

I can smell your scent for miles

Just like animals

Animals

Like animals

Baby, I’m

So what you trying to do to me

It’s like we can’t stop we’re enemies

But we get along when I’m inside you

You’re like a drug that’s killing me

I cut you out entirely

But I get so high when I’m inside you

Yeah you can start over you can run free

You can find other fish in the sea

You can pretend it’s meant to be

But you can’t stay away from me

I can still hear you making that sound

Taking me down rolling on the ground

You can pretend that it was me

But no

Baby, I’m preying on you tonight

Hunt you down eat you alive

Just like animals

Animals

Like animals

Ew. Let’s stop for a minute and analyze. I’m all for explicit language. I often tell my students, “Be direct.” This is an example of TOO direct. Also, too rape-y. “Rape-y” is a made-up term, but I assure you, the effects are very real. The gross language shown in this popular song (popularity is relative) speaks to a larger issue in our culture. Not only does it reinforce predatory metaphors, hyper masculinity, and rejection of a woman’s right to say “no,” the video is a highly sexualized short film where the main character, played by Adam Levine, selects his victim simply because she walked into the butcher shop where he worked. We watch, as he gets closer and closer to her, somehow covered in more and more blood, throughout the song.

The video consistently objectifies women, quite literally associating them with pieces of meat through both language and visuals. The lyrics state, “Hunt you down / eat you alive / just like animals.” I appreciate repetition as a persuasive tool, but hearing this so often in the song reiterates over and over that women are something to be devoured. If we truly want to talk about how men and women assume animalistic traits, discuss a topic like “peacocking” or “primping.” These are rituals that both animals and humans do actually partake in (consciously and subconsciously). Or, if you want to sound less creepy, rather than like a stalker stealing your underwear and then using them to track you, (“I can smell your scent for miles”), talk about pheromones and chemical reactions. I know, I know, scientific research doesn’t really work in this sense. It’s a song, in pop culture, but please, someone needs to help these lyrics.

"Why, Adam? Why?"
“Why, Adam? Why?”

Adam sings to the camera in a meat freezer, swinging like a chimpanzee between the hanging carcasses. His movements are aggressive when alone in his meat freezer. Then he stands calm, cool, and collected in the rain, peering into her window. Super creepy. I imagine that this video intended some creepiness, but I still don’t know why. Who was that helping? Is Maroon 5 speaking out against rape culture by showing an exaggerated expression of it? I’m so confused. Even if the intention is to show how much men prey upon women, WHY SO MUCH BLOOD? He rubs blood on his face and his chest. It’s pretty much everywhere. Really. WHY? Again, I ask, what is the point of this? It is not sexy, and in this attempt to highlight our animalistic sexual instincts, Adam Levine has painted himself in an unforgiving and unforgettable light.

That being said, Maroon 5, we don’t hate you. We just strongly dislike that song and the weird video that followed. On a positive note, I’ve included my favorite song from Maroon 5 that is actually really sweet and does not enhance rape culture. Score! Sing along guilt-free!

The Black Lion Paw


Pinks+Femme
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Femme from Pinks+Femme
Femme from Pinks+Femme

Text © 2014 Jamie McDowell
Re-print © 2014 The Black Lion Journal
Re-printed with permission.
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