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“Payphone” by Maroon 5 Featuring Wiz Khalifa

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    “Payphone” by Maroon 5 Featuring Wiz Khalifa (official video) is a pop song.

    Song Title: Payphone (official video)
    Artist: Maroon 5 Featuring Wiz Khalifa
    Album: Overexposed
    Genre: adult pop, adult contemporary
    Composer: Copyright © 2012 Adam Levine, Benjamin Levin, Ammar Malik, Shellback, Dan Omelio, Cameron Thomaz
    Musical key: written in B♯ Major, recorded in B Major
    Lead Vocals: Adam Levine
    Backing Vocals: Shellback
    Rap: Wiz Khalifa
    Lead Guitar: James Valentine
    Guitar: Dan Omelio (Robopop), Shellback
    Keyboards: PJ Morton, Benjamin Levin (Benny Blanco), Shellback
    Bass Guitar: Mickey Madden
    Drums: Matt Flynn
    Director: Samuel Bayer
    Producer: Shellback, Benny Blanco
    Recording: Noah “Mailbox” Passovoy
    Recorded: Recorded at Conway Studios, Los Angeles, California
    Engineered at Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, California, at Downtown Studios, New York City, New York, and at Jon Mann Studios, Reston, Virginia
    Mixed at MixStar Studios, Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Engineer: Benjamin Levin (Benny Blanco), Bradford Smith, Chris Sclafani, Jonathan Mann, Eric Eylands (assistant engineer), Andrew “Muffman” Luftman (asst eng), Scott “Yarmov” Yarmovsky (asst eng)
    Mixer: John Hanes, Phil Seaford (assistant mix engineer)
    Released: April 16, 2012
    Label: A&M/Octone
    Number of listens: 28383

    U.S. Billboard Hot 100: #46, 31 weeks on chart, peak #2 (two)
    Adult Contemporary: #2 (two), 28 weeks on chart, peak #2 (two)
    Radio Songs: #50
    Digital Songs: #54, 31 weeks on chart, peak #1 (one)
    On-Demand Songs: #34, 30 weeks on chart, peak #1 (one)
    Canadian Hot 100: #40, 31 weeks on chart, peak #1 (one)
    MySpace: peak #2 (two)
     Billboard information for the week of Dec 1, 2012
     Billboard chart listings courtesy of Billboard Magazine

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    Summary quotation from Wikipedia:

    “Payphone” is a song performed by the American pop rock band Maroon 5. The song was released on April 16, 2012, as the lead single from their upcoming fourth studio album Overexposed (2012). It features American rapper Wiz Khalifa. It was written by Adam Levine, Benny Blanco, Ammar Malik, Shellback, Dan Omelio and Wiz Khalifa, and it was produced by Shellback and Benny Blanco. The song is a pop ballad and it talks about a romance that is no more.

    The mid-tempo song finds Adam lamenting a deteriorating relationship and Wiz’s verse talks about how regretful the unlucky lady will be for walking away. The song’s title comes from Levine’s line: “I’m at a payphone trying to call home / All of my change I spent on you.” The song has received positive reviews from music critics, who praised the catch melody and named it “a radio success”. Some critics dismissed Wiz Khalifa’s appearance and its title.

    The official music video, directed by Samuel Bayer, finds Levine taking down some bank robbers, attempting to become the “hero” in a hail of bullets as he makes his escape, steals a gun from a robber and then gets mistaken for a bank robber. Because of this, he must escape from a fleet of policemen, which he does with ease. The video was positively received from critics, who considered it an enjoyable mini-action movie.The video was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Pop Video, but lost out to “What Makes You Beautiful ” by One Direction.

    On the Billboard Hot 100, the song debuted at the number three spot before peaking at number two. The song sold 493,000 copies in its first week, becoming the best sales week for a digital song by a group and also the eighth-best sales week overall. It also reached number-one on the Canadian Hot 100 chart and has stayed at the top for eight consecutive weeks. It also topped the UK Singles Chart, making it the band’s first ever single to do so. Payphone was the worlds 5th best selling single of 2012 with 9.1 million copies sold.

Writing, production, and release

    In 2011, Maroon 5 re-released their third studio album Hands All Over. The song “Payphone” was written as a birthday present to a fan, Nguyen Quynh Mai on 19 September 2011. The lead single from the re-issue of the album, “Moves Like Jagger” featured American recording artist Christina Aguilera and was a commercial success, managing to reach the number-one on 18 national charts including the US Billboard Hot 100. In middle 2011, the band started working on their following fourth studio album. One of the members of Maroon 5, James Valentine spoke to Billboard and revealed their plans are to release their fourth studio album in early 2012. On March 22, 2012, the band posted a video on YouTube featuring numerous scenes from the band in the studio, recording the album. On July 17, 2012, the album was released under the title Overexposed.

    The song is a mid-tempo pop ballad and it features a rap verse from Wiz in the middle of it. “Payphone” has a plodding, piano-heavy production with martial drumming and a dramatic chorus. It also features throbbing bass on the hook that gives the song the hint of a disco edge. Lyrically, it explores the way a relationship used to be and the way they no longer are. Thomas Chau from AOL Radio Blog commented that the song “is one of the band’s more mellow singles similar to ‘She Will Be Loved’ and ‘Won’t Go Home Without You.’” Andrew Unterberger agreed, writing that “it’s got that same kind of mid-tempo blandness that’s caused casual fans to mix up ballads like “Won’t Go Home Without You” and “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” in our heads for years.”

    “Payphone” was written by Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Levine, along with Benny Blanco, Ammar Malik, Shellback, Dan Omelio (Robopop), and the American rapper Wiz Khalifa. It was produced by Shellback and Benny Blanco. Levine, Blanco, Shellback, and Malik also wrote the band’s previous single “Moves Like Jagger”. The writing process started when Blanco, Robopop, and Malik convened together in the studio; Malik and Robopop constructed a piano line and demo track that Blanco compiled into a proper melody. Then, it was given to Levine who wrote the lyrics. Meanwhile, Blanco recalled rapper Wiz Khalifa with an idea to throw a wrench into the Maroon 5 works by adding hip-hop flavor to the its sound, “I love when things don’t make sense, like, ‘Holy fuck!’ You don’t hear him on the song at all. I like when bands dip into a whole different genre.” Wiz Khalifa wrote and rapped his verse on “Payphone”. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Blanco told that five minutes before Khalifa arrived at the studio, he prepared “the sound beds for the finger snap-driven portion of the jam”. However, producer Max Martin, who was the executive producer of Overexposed, adjusted the chorus, because he felt it should be a “little different”.

    “Payphone” was recorded at Conway Studios in Los Angeles by Noah “Mailbox” Pasovoy and Shellback, while Eric Eylands served as the assistant engineer. John Hanes mixed the song at Mixstar Studios in Virginia Beach and Phil Seaford was the mixing assistant. The programming, additional bass, keys, acoustic guitars and the background vocals were provided by Shellback and Blanco. Jeremy “Jbogs” Levin and David “D Silb” Silberstein served as production coordinators. Khalifa appears as courtesy of Rostrum Records. “Payphone” was released as a lead single from Overexposed. On April 17, 2012, it was digitally released in most territories. A&M/Octone Records serviced the song to contemporary hit radio in the United States on April 24. A CD single containing the album version of the song together with a Thomas Penton/Barry Huffine remix was released on June 8 in Germany.


    “Payphone” is a pop and R&B song that contains hip hop influences and has duration of 3 minutes and 51 seconds. Its instrumentation, which consists of funk guitars, bass and synths is accompanied by Levine’s high falsetto. “Payphone” is written in the key of B♯ major (recorded in B major), in common time, with a tempo of 110 beats per minute. Levine’s vocal range spans from the low note of A4 to the high note of C6. Thomas Chau from AOL Radio Blog called the song “mellow” and compared it to the band’s previous singles “She Will Be Loved” (2004) and “Won’t Go Home Without You” (2007). Andrew Unterberger of Popdust agreed, and wrote that “it’s got that same kind of mid-tempo blandness that’s caused casual fans to mix up ballads like ‘Won’t Go Home Without You’ and ‘Never Gonna Leave This Bed’ (2011).”

    The song kicks off with Adam Levine performing an upper register read-through of the chorus backed by a simple keyboard. On the chorus, he sings: “I’m at a payphone trying to call home / All of my change I spent on you / Where have the times gone, baby / It’s all wrong, where are the plans we made for two? / If happy ever after did exist / I would still be holding you like this / All those fairytales are full of shit / One more fucking love song / I’ll be sick”. “Shit” and “fucking” are replaced with “it” and “stupid”, respectively, in the song’s clean version. The clean version omits Wiz Khalifa’s version as well. Following the verse, the full band kicks in on the chorus and the song’s sadness seeps through. When Wiz serves his verse, his rhymes don’t speak of his love life, but rather his “haters:” “I’ll be out spending all this money while you sittin’ ’round wondering why it wasn’t you who came up from nothin’ / Made it from the bottom now when you see me I’m stuntin’.” Amy Sciarretto from “Pop Crush” and Bill Lamb from pointed out that the lyrics are “almost mirroring” Levine’s current romantic situation with former girlfriend Anne Vyalitsyna and their very public split.

    According to the sheet music published at, “Payphone” is written in the key of B major with a moderately fast tempo of 112 beats per minute. It follows the chord progression Esus2-B5-G♯m7-F♯sus-F-Esus2-B-G♯m7-F♯5, and the vocals span from A♯4 to C♯6.

Music video

    On April 19, 2012, Levine was spotted shooting the video, making a call from a Los Angeles phone booth, fleeing from the police with Victoria’s Secrets model Bregje Jeinen and speeding away in a classic sports car. The official music video was directed by Samuel Bayer and was released on May 10, 2012. The video is similar to high-action FPS video game, Payday: The Heist. The car used in the video, a custom 1967 Shelby Cobra, was a kit-car hand built by Levine in the band’s practice space during the band’s inactive winter months.

    The video begins with a flashforward that starts with a beleaguered Levine torching his ride and dialing (possibly) his lost love’s telephone number at a payphone. Another typical day at the bank for Levine is shown next, which turns into chaos when some bandits enter and take charge (one of them is played by the band’s lead guitarist — James Valentine — and some of the other bank robbers are probably played by drummer Matt Flynn, bassist Mickey Madden and current keyboardist, originally a touring-only band member, PJ Morton) — all of this happens while the song plays in the background. Levine and his beautiful female co-worker (played by Dutch model, Bregje Heinen) escape unscathed, but when some cops mistake him for one of the bank robbers, he tells the female co-worker to hide in a car and steals a convertible that belongs to Wiz Khalifa to get away from them. A car chase follows and when Levine is almost caught by the police, he steers the stolen convertible onto the wrong side of the road and causes a huge explosion, which destroys one of the police cars. When he finally reaches his destination, he passes by a place where Wiz, the owner of the car, performed his rap earlier. After Adam gets out of the convertible, it also explodes and Adam Levine, injured, enters a booth with the titular payphone, probably to call for help — this connects to the beginning of the video.

    The video was nominated for an MYV VMA for Best Pop Video.

—from Wikipedia (the Wikipedia:Text of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License applies to Wikipedia’s block of text and possible accompanying picture, along with any alterations, transformations, and/or building upon Wikipedia’s original text that applied to this block of text)


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