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In 2011 Maroon 5 released the video clip for “Moves Like Jagger”, a song which had a loud, chart-topping success across the globe, with its contagious whistle melody; fast beat; and mesmerizing female vocals by Christina Aguilera, and male vocals by front man Adam Levine. The music video is intercepted by flashes of Mick Jagger, the lead vocalist of the Rolling Stones, performing in his early twenties, whom I had the thrill (a dream come true, really) to also watch live in March.
Despite the evidence of inspiration and esteem, artists are a reflection of their time, so the shift in paradigm towards women, once both bands are compared, is visible. A statement by Kurt Cobain from a 1993 interview wisely encapsulates this idea: “although I listen to Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin [classic rock in general] and I really did enjoy some of the melodies they’d written, it took me so many years to realize that a lot of it had to do with sexism”. His conclusion seems truer than ever when contrasting the Stones’ lyrics with Maroon 5’s. While “Under My Thumb” (1966), for example, describes a process of “taming the shrew” as a conquer, Levine’s stunning vocals are not of a protesting nature, yet do tend to verbally illustrate powerful and independent women engaged in relationships with a balance of power and admiration, as in “This Love” (2004) and “Moves Like Jagger” (2011).
It is the role of the subsequent musicians to incorporate and be inspired by the strengths of the old school, yet to naturally embed the social views of their own time. The abundant moments of lyricism and instrumental quality of the 1960s dinosaurs, including the Stones, are aspects that uplift contemporary artists since it was a time in which the youth was unafraid of experimenting, unlike now when everybody seems so tightly packed into commercial limits. Note also that it is fallacious to completely strike the Stones and others from contributing to social causes. For a man to dance like Mick Jagger at the time, it was a pure act of breach of sexual paradigms, which had been kick started with Elvis “The Pelvis” in the preceding decade.
Finally, the differences in staging of both groups are also worthy of analysis. Why do the Rolling Stones, their ages ranging from 68 to 74 years old, continue performing? They do so because it is what is natural for them and because they like it (pun: 1974 single), a feeling that was clearly conveyed through Mick Jagger’s hyperactivity and the sensitive expression of Keith Richards (lead guitarist) when he heard the packed Morumbi in ovation. The immediate connection they create with the public is the consequence of something hard to define, yet lays somewhere in the spectrum of talent and experience. Adam Levine can be People’s 2013 sexiest man alive, yet in terms of interaction with the audience, Jagger is the champion.