Blood Waterfalls and Re-Victimization in Maroon 5’s “Animals”

This blog is not very old, but so far, I’ve only criticized things that I do not like. I’ve never been a fan of the Washington, D.C. football team, and though I recognize that Meghan Trainor’s songs are catchy, I’m not a fan of her, either.

But I am a fan of Maroon 5. I downloaded “She Will Be Loved” from Napster and I root for Adam Levine’s team on the “The Voice.” So I was incredibly disappointed when I finally watched the video for their new song “Animals.”

Upon first listen, it sounds like a pretty normal Maroon 5 song. The lyrics by themselves are also open for interpretation. There’s some creepiness, but it could be interpreted as a song about a toxic relationship.

Take this for example:

You can find other fish in the sea
You can pretend it’s meant to be
But you can’t stay away from me

It could be about a girl who can’t get over her boyfriend despite the boyfriend being bad for her.

But then, you watch the music video (trigger warning for scenes of stalking and implied violence):

This song is about a stalker. The creepiest, most serial-killer stalker ever portrayed outside of an episode of Law and Order. Seriously, Adam Levine swings from a meat hook, wields a cleaver while staring creepily at his target, and fantasizes about having sex under a waterfall of blood.

With the video, the lyrics go from borderline creepy to straight up terrifying. It’s no longer about any sort of actual relationship and is simply about a stalker stalking…sexily?

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 5.53.11 PM

Every woman loves a guy who rubs blood on himself and hangs out with carcasses. Swoon!

And that’s the biggest problem for me. It’s clear that Levine wanted this song and this video to be sexy. Levine’s target (his real-life wife, btw) rubs herself and writhes naked in front of a mirror. Levine rubs fake blood over his bare chest. The aforementioned sex scene.

But stalking in real life is not sexy, it’s terrifying. Stalking with the threat of being chopped into little bitty pieces is even more terrifying. One in six women knows this on a visceral level because they have lived through it. I have not, but I have been followed down the sidewalk by a strange man who informed me when I had reached my destination that he would be waiting outside for me. The scene in this music video where Levine follows his target gave me chills. I can only imagine how this video made people who actually lived through stalking feel. Yet all the while, this video is saying, “Get over it girls! It’s sexy to be followed around and secretly watched and have your house broken into because that guy is HOT (and so is the blood waterfall he will create for you).”

Maroon 5 isn’t doing anything new, either. Duran Duran did the same song with “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Then there’s every single vampire movie ever that says it’s romantic when someone who wants to eat you breaks into your house and watches you sleep. Even the “You just don’t know you want me” angle of the song has been done to death, starting around “Every Breath You Take” and continuing through “Blurred Lines.”  Levine isn’t edgy or interesting; he’s just exploiting people’s real, lived ordeals and reducing them to sexy writhing and standing in the rain.

So, I am breaking up with Maroon 5. As a palette cleanser, I recommend some nice fuck-off music like Robyn’s “Handle Me.”

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