Starting out together in a junior high garage band, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Adam Levine, keyboardist Jesse Carmichael and base guitarist Mickey Madden stuck together over the years, through a couple different band configurations and music genres. And then in 2001, with the addition of guitarist James Valentine (and, later, drummer Matt Flynn), they formed Maroon 5. The group's debut album, Songs About Jane, climbed slowly to the top of the charts, earning Grammy Awards and going platinum along the way.
Song lyrics have always leaned toward morally ambiguous sensuality. And accompanying music videos generally push the sexual side of things even further. "Misery," from Maroon 5's third album, Hands All Over, is no exception.
On the surface of things the bouncy, funk-injected tune tells the tale of a guy who's suffering from the loss of true love. He laments his own failings as he realizes, too late, that he didn't express what he should have: "Not that I didn't care, it's that I didn't know/It's not what I didn't feel, its what I didn't show." Less insightfully, the tune also briefly hits the sheets as the singer describes memories of intimacies with his love ("Your salty skin and how it mixes in with mine/The way it feels to be completely intertwined").
The video takes that last bit and adds violence to the equation as emotional wounds are given physical manifestations. Levine is quite literally beaten up by his seemingly sadistic lover. Between heated kisses, caresses and downright dirty groping, the video's beautiful antagonist, clad in a midriff-baring top and skintight jeans, proceeds to bite, punch and generally pummel the singer—throwing him off rooftops, slamming him face-first into walls and kicking him through a plate glass window. She stabs his hand with a knife and throws the weapon at him too. Then she brings out the big guns, firing a RPG at him. (It blows somebody else up.) The abused lover ends up collapsing in his painful misery.