Pop Life

Maroon 5 is a Perfectly Fine, Trusty, Mundane Half Time Show Pick

It does help that he's easy on the eyes.
It does help that he's easy on the eyes. Photo by Marco Torres
The Super Bowl Halftime Show does not exist for music fans. While it’s almost certainly the most watched music performance of the year, and thus an important piece of American pop culture, it’s not produced with music lovers in mind. It’s really not even produced for people who just sort of like music. It’s produced for spectacle, a bone to those who may be indifferent to sports but addicted to live-tweeting. It’s there to be inoffensive enough you don’t change the channel.

Looked at things from that perspective, Maroon 5 is kind of the perfect Super Bowl Halftime type act. What other pop band has a better case that isn’t already considered a throwback performer? Imagine Dragon can’t carry the show on their own, and thus wouldn’t be the first performers announced. Fall Out Boy, as pop as they’ve become, aren’t quite the right fit for the spot. You could go with Nickelback if didn’t mind something a touch harder, but they remain just a bit too divisive.

And it would have to be a pop band because the ship has pretty much sailed on them going with rock acts. Other than a little bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers to spice up Bruno Mars in 2014, the halftime show is all in on pop, but that does make sense given that the list of rock bands left that could play the gig are pretty thin if you exclude bands that have already done it. The list is pretty much Metallica, which would be great except the setlist would likely be something like “Master of Puppets (Intro to First Chorus),” “One (Ending),” and all of “Enter Sandman,” with maybe a cameo by Chris Stapleton for something like “Whiskey in the Jar”; and Green Day, who’d have the plug pulled on them the second they started doing the “No Trump, No KKK!” chant they borrowed from M.D.C.

Sure, Maroon 5 might be the weakest pick they’ve made since The Who — who just didn’t have the power for that type of performance at that point — if we exclude Coldplay, who only showed up to fill time before Beyonce and Bruno Mars showed up to remind everyone how good their halftime shows were. But if putting on a good half-time show was about record sales then we’d already have had a Drake halftime show, and if it was about influence we’d have had a Kanye halftime show, or if it was just general merit then we’d have a Jay-Z halftime show.

But we’ve got Maroon 5, plus maybe someone from The Voice (but no more than that since NBC isn’t hosting the Super Bowl this year). Maybe you go with Usher since he his an ATL native, but I’d personally go with Kelly Clarkson because “Since U Been Gone” is better than anything Maroon 5 has dreamed of writing.

But whatever happens, it’ll be fine. We’ve survived worse. We made Left Shark a thing because of that otherwise uninteresting Katy Perry halftime show, remember? But you really need to let go of the idea that the halftime show is anything other than what it is: filler. It doesn’t exist to show off the host city or show off music’s best and/or brightest. When the time comes, pull your phone out and make your jokes and then let it go. Or just listen to something you like.
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Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia