Maroon 5 - Overexposed
Song by Maroon 5
from the album Overexposed
June 26, 2012
2012; Conway Studios (Los Angeles, California)
Adam Levine, James Valentine
Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy, Adam Levine, James Valentine
Overexposed track listing
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"Sad" is the ninth track from American band Maroon 5's fourth studio album Overexposed (2012). It was written by Adam Levine and James Valentine; they produced the song together with Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy. Valentine started composing the song on his home piano, before introducing the melody to Levine, who wrote the lyrics and called the song his most personal track on the album. "Sad" is a piano ballad that is similar to the works by British singer-songwriter Adele. It received generally mixed reviews from music critics; some of them called it a standout track on Overexposed, however, others criticized Levine's voice on the song. Following the release of the album, due to strong digital downloads, the song peaked at number 12 on the singles chart in South Korea.

Background and production Edit

"Sad" was written by Maroon 5's lead singer Adam Levine together with band's guitarist, Valentine. According to Valentine, the development of the song began one morning, "before he was even awake" he was dreaming of his living room's piano playing the melody. He further stated that it was cool and he liked the chords to the verse. He later went to the studio where Levine had a concept for the song including couple of lines for the chorus. It was produced by Levine and Valentine together with Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy. For an interview with MTV News, Levine told that "Sad" is his most personal track on the album, although not revealed the inspiration behind it. The song was recorded at Conway Studios in Los Angeles by Noah Passovoy while Eric Eylands served as engineering assistant. Serbian Ghanea mixed it at Mixstar Studios in Virginia Beach together with John Hanes and Phil Seaford who served as mixing engineer and mixing assistant respectively.

Speaking about the development of "Sad", James Valentine stated:

It was kinda cool and like the chords to the verse and I just sang that melody. I sang that melody and there weren't any words; it was just kind of a melody. I recorded it on my phone and didn't even think about it.

Composition Edit

"Sad" is a piano ballad with a length of three minutes and fourteen seconds. It is written in the key of E minor, in common time, with a tempo of 116 beats per minute. Levine's vocal range spans from the low note of D4 to the high note of G5. "Sad" highlights Levine's soulful tone that his voice possesses. Nick Levine of NME labeled the song as "an Adele-apeing weepie". Similarly, The New York Times' Nate Chinen compared "Sad" to Adele's 2011 single "Someone Like You". Rick Florino of Artistdirect wrote that it "echoes Elton John in terms of epic scope and shows just how vulnerable Levine can get." Lyrically, "Sad" is a song on which Levine "achingly" declares the end of his relationship and his heartbreak. According to Jacqui Swift, it was inspired by the singer's break up with Victoria's Secret model Anne Vyalitsyna. The song begins with the lyrics, "Man, it's been a long day stuck thinking 'bout it." The chorus is simple and consists of Levine singing "I'm so Sad".

Critical receptionEdit

The song received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Both Vivecka Nair of The UrbanWire and Suzanne Byrne of RTÉ.ie called the song a standout track on Overexposed. Jacqui Swift of The Sun labeled "Sad" together with "Beautiful Goodbye" and "Love Somebody" as an emotive moments on the album. Alex Lai of called the song "bearable". Digital Spy's Robert Copsey stated that the track lacks the honest and raw emotion of the band's 2004 single "She Will Be Loved". Evan Sawdey of PopMatters called the song a "coldly calculated" moment on Overexposed and further wrote that it doesn't match well with Levine's voice. According to him his vocals are too "showy" to make the the chorus sound genuine. Similarly, Bruce Dennill of The Citizen criticized Levine's voice and wrote that he "doesn’t adapt his voice to change the mood – it's as high and shrill as it is in the songs with fuller arrangements." Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield labeled "Sad" as a "boring moment" on the album with a "droll" title. Nate Chinen of The New York Times criticized the song's chorus and further stated, "no one bothered to upgrade a place-holder lyric during the process of songwriting. No machine is perfect."

Credits and personnel Edit

Recording and mixing Edit

  • Recorded at Conway Studios, Los Angeles, California; mixed at Mixstar Studios, Virginia Beach.

Personnel Edit

  • Songwriting – Adam Levine, James Valentine
  • Production – Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy, Adam Levine, James Valentine
  • Recording - Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy
  • Assistant Engineer – Eric Eylands
  • Mixing – Serban Ghenea
  • Mixing engineer – John Hanes
  • Mixing assistant – Phil Seaford
  • Programming and keys – Noah Passovoy

Charts Edit

Upon the release of Overexposed, due to strong digital downloads "Sad" debuted on the South Korea Gaon International Chart at number 12 on June 24, 2012, with sales of 28,107 digital copies. The next week, it fell to number 19 and sold additional 13,044 copies. It stayed on the chart for total of six weeks.

Chart (2012) Peak position
Indonesia Digital songs (Billboard)
South Korea Gaon International Chart