Is Payphone By Maroon 5 The Worst Video Ever?

15 Dec




Consider this my break from reality and a celebration of finals week.  How else do I celebrate being done a mildly excruciating (well honestly, it was fairly easy thanks to being a senior) week of exams and Scantrons?  EASY.  I watch the Payphone video by Maroon 5 (featuring Wiz Khalifa), or should I say, Adam Levine.  The song itself is mildly catchy and leagues more tolerable than Moves Like Jagger was.  Still, the video?  Oh lord.  Let’s take a look.

:02 seconds

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Adam Levine is introduced with nefarious amounts of dirt on him and a car in wreckage behind him.  He reaches for his cellphone but realizes that since the video is called Payphone; it’d be awful to use it.  Also it’s a flip-phone so whatever occupation he currently has, he is still living in 2004 which would be an apt way to describe Maroon 5 anyway.  Still uh the special effects are kind of neat though he does appear to be mildly healthy for someone who just emerged from a burning inferno.

:12 seconds

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There’s the payphone!  So Levine appears to limp into this because he just blew up a car and twisted ankles happen after that.  Thankfully after his flip-phone doesn’t work, there happens to be a telephone booth underneath a highway overpass in an abandoned part of America.  It’s quite nice that Levine allowed introduced us to the video’s main character only 12 seconds in.  Don’t you hate videos that are too metaphorical to understand?

:28 seconds

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Now we get a screen flash to what appears to be Adam Levine’s job.  Oh, he’s a banker of some sort it appears?  Man life is hard for the upper-working class, all those papers, email drafts on his computer and boy; what a mundane life!  Hopefully something livens up this otherwise dull life.  Am I the only one hoping for Occupy Wall Street to march in and firebomb the place?  Or maybe Bane comes in and the Scarecrow sends Levine to exile?  Also note in this screenshot, the Rubik’s cube is in front of the computer.  Someone is valuing pleasure OVER work!  Total me-firster, right Gregg Easterbrook?

:41 seconds

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After more snapshots of just ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE (pencil-biting, phone-calling, eye-rubbing), we get to the song.  It takes 41 seconds to launch into the opening lines of the song.  Coincidentally the first lines “…I’m at a payphonnnne” occurs when Levine rests…in a PAYPHONE.  Is this Transformers 4?  

:49 seconds

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Hot female banker walks in, also wearing glasses which means she is also intelligent like Adam Levine.  Wait, this is Transformers 4 isn’t it?

:59 seconds

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UH-OH WATCH OUT SECURITY GUARD, BANE IS COMING!  Now we are starting to piece together this amazing plot.  In case you are with me, we know this ends with Adam Levine calling someone on the payphone.  These are the events leading up to it.  After Levine tries hard not to check out his co-worker (which the video would’ve been awesome if he dropped his pencil or something); some criminals come in to cause mayhem because that’s what bad people do.  They suck and ruin music videos.  Though I must add, how great would this video be if nothing happened at work?  Alas, Adam Levine is a visionary.


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After some shooting in which Levine hides on the side of his desk and numerous amounts of gunshots are launched, we finally see the rest of the band.  Seriously?  The band have been reduced to 1-second cameos as bank robbers?  They have attained the same amount of noteworthiness as the Secretary of Transportation or Fonzworth Bentley.  At this point can’t Adam Levine just go solo and have these guys be the backing band?  Isn’t it cruel enough to pretend that they are in a band?


Picture 16


Now that we got the band introductions out of the way, it’s still mayhem in the bank.  We are seeing Adam Levine, from his “co-star’s” perspective, who is pointing to his shoe.  This would be an ideal product placement for Clark’s but unfortunately it doesn’t happen.  Keep in mind from this perspective, there is a robber with some semi-automatic pistol standing DIRECTLY above her.  Notice, there’s no one around Adam Levine.  Is the 2005 Kansas City Chiefs offensive line protecting him?  Tom Brady doesn’t even have that amount of time in the pocket.  Either that or the robbers are kind of sexist.  Or Adam Levine is.  Now what is Adam Levine muttering?


Picture 17


She unbuckles her shoe….that’s Adam Levine’s grand plan…mysteriously the robber is gone as he must’ve felt threatened.


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Luckily at that precise moment, Adam Levine notices what’s likely his bass guitarist struggling with Andrew Bynum’s contract and pickpockets his pistol.  I can’t handle this already.  But what is this lady going to do with one high heeled shoe?


Picture 19


TAKE THAT CRIMINALS.  Adam Levine has his pistol, whilst you have your semi-automatics mind you, and all of a sudden the bad guys look like Rick Perry at a Republican debate.  Someone out there currently has “Bank Robber #1 in the Payphone Music Video” as the top credential on their resume.  Notice, that every other person, sans Levine and the leading lady (who I don’t know and feel awful for referring to her as that), are captured at this point.  Did they seriously not think to look behind the desks?  Also, why did that guy ignore her?  Is she still shoeless?  Where is Ja Rule?


Picture 20


Okay in six seconds, the robbers miss Levine at point-blank range as he grabs the woman (who removed her shoes so he could run better, obviously minimalism has worked in her favor) as they highstep their way over gunshots.  This is happening.  This song is about a phone.


Picture 21


So in the next 15 seconds, the duo emerge from the bank only to be greeted by police who seem to mistakenly accuse two bankers (one who is shoeless) to be the criminals as Levine drops the gun.  For some odd reason, they continue to run away even though the cops appear to have only shot once and likely would just you know, go into the building to arrest the rest of Maroon 5 who moonlight as bank robbers.  Meanwhile people who are apparently near a hostage situation, seem to be remotely uninterested in the fact that a heist is taking place right next to them.  


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Nevermind the cops are chasing them.  Apparently two policemen were called to the scene of a bank robbery in a major U.S. city.  THANKS A LOT OBAMA.


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After successfully ditching the cops, who just give up completely, the duo…wait Wiz Khalifa is in this!?  Apparently he’s undisturbed by the police standoff/chase as he gives the keys to his Shelby Cobra to a valet.  So it takes 2:07 for Wiz Khalifa to make his first appearance, but don’t worry; he’ll be back!


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After Khalifa walks into wherever he’s going, Levine and his ladyfriend are seen running around the corner of the same street.  They hide behind a car as Levine appears to just ditch her after last words.  I would love to know what the script said he was supposed to say.  I’m hoping it was something like “Listen….I love you, but…you are….you are in danger…because I’m trouble”.  Remember he’s not a criminal by the way.  Why is he still on the run?  Also, they are on the same street as Wiz Khalifa but if you notice, there’s a huge parking lot behind them in the sun while they are in the overcast on a crowded street.  WHAT IS GOING ON?


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So like any innocent man, Adam Levine beats up on an unsuspecting valet and without leaving a tip, carjacks Wiz Khalifa’s car as his ladyfriend looks on helplessly, alone and shoeless.  So Adam Levine is clearly the worst person in the world.  


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As soon as Levine peels out of the parking spot, a policeman is immediately on his tail.  Did they know he would steal a car?  Better yet, Adam Levine has now ditched the girl he saved to fend for herself, stolen a car, made an illegal turn, blown through a couple of redlights and is likely in excess of the speed limit.  The cop is also right behind him and Adam Levine is apparently Jeff Gordon.


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Okay what the hell is going on?  Did Michael Bay direct this?  Did Colin Farrell turn down this role?  In 26 seconds, Levine goes from the bridge leaving town, to being chased by at least seven policemen and four helicopters.  So yes, there are more policemen on scene chasing down a banker than there were for the bank robbery.  Meanwhile, we have no idea what’s going on.  I can’t wait for this to end.  


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Wiz Khalifa, in what is probably 10 minutes in real-life time, has become homeless as he begins his verse.  Allen Iverson is apparently better at his finances than Payphone version of Wiz Khalifa.  


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For barely a fraction of a second, Adam Levine looks into the distance as Wiz Khalifa begins his rap.  This is hilarious for one reason.  It coincides with Khalifa beginning to rap, which means Levine is probably just aware of Khalifa’s existence as a hobo that raps.  Watch the video exclusively for this part.


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As Levine zooms down a highway with police and helicopters in hot pursuit, we see that there are now police coming directly at him as well.  Since you know, he’s evading the police and that’s what they tend to do in this situation.  The cops try to barricade Levine in but forgot that he’s the greatest driver ever and eludes them as now Levine has apparently killed a few policemen.  


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Okay….:rubs face:….Levine casually drives into the distance as three cop cars have wrecked behind him.  There’s about 15 unaccounted for police cars and four helicopters that apparently vaporized upon reading the script of this music video.  Thankfully it’s almost over.


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Levine does what every person would do in this situation and calmly park it in an abandoned part of town but WAIT, THAT’S WIZ KHALIFA?  So, let me get this straight.  Either Wiz Khalifa can teleport, or Adam Levine went on a high-speed chase to only bring him directly near the scene of the crime which is under an overpass with a lonely telephone booth.  Khalifa’s mind has to probably be blown by the chain of events that just occurred.  What a stroke of good luck!  This brings us to another good question, why the hell is there a telephone booth there?  The only people that are under overpasses that would call someone would be someone who was mugged and all they had left was a quarter.  Hell, that’s about the only excusable time anyone has to use a payphone.


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I hate you.

That’s it…the video just ends with Levine walking to a phone booth, without getting beaten up by Wiz Khalifa, and trying to call what we presume is the woman he ditched, who was likely arrested.  Meanwhile, Levine has stolen a car, blown a red light, recklessly drove, likely killed or severely wounded several police officers and likely caused some type of infrastructural damage to a highway.  Meanwhile, wait that’s it because nothing else happens.

I can’t think of anything worse than that.  In fact, I know music videos are stupid, vapid and never make sense; but Jesus….who comes up with such an idea?  I don’t even hate the song.  I’d rather watched Trapped In The Closet Parts 81-801 than this again.  

Next Week we’ll look at Finally Found You by Enrique Iglesias to determine if anything could be worse than this.



6 Responses to “Is Payphone By Maroon 5 The Worst Video Ever?”

  1. Joost March 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    This is brilliant. I was just flipping channels, came across this video, and thought it was the most ludicrous thing I’d ever seen. So I googled “Maroon 5 dumbest music video ever” hoping to find some biting commentary, and this was on the first page of results.

    • joed5k July 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

      ultra late to the response party, but thank you!

  2. Leeotnt July 14, 2013 at 11:40 pm #


  3. Maroon5 Fan June 5, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

    The video is actually good if you don’t think about every little thing.

  4. Pawanth December 16, 2016 at 3:25 am #

    Completely agree with you. The song is good but the music video is nonsense.

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