Animals

Album: V (2014)
Charted: 27 3
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Over a shimmering bass line and thumping drums, this primal song finds Adam Levine hunting down his prey: A girl who used to be his. Far from an "I want you back" love song, however, this one ventures into stalker territory and gets very sexual. "Don't deny the animal that comes alive when I'm inside you," he crudely croons.

    The Maroon 5 singer penned the song with Benny Blanco (with whom he also collaborated with on "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone"), and the song's producer, Shellback.
  • The song starts with the chorus, which appears three more times in the song. A little over half the song is comprised of chorus, which leaves little room for story, but hammers home the hook. Repetition is the songwriting strategy on this track, as the title is repeated 30 times.
  • The disturbing video was directed by Samuel Bayer, who first worked with Maroon 5 in 2012 when he shot their "Payphone" clip. It finds Levine portraying a slaughterhouse worker who spots a beautiful lady (played by his Victoria's Secret model wife Behati Prinsloo), and starts stalking her. It is not a video for the squeamish - one scene, for instance, shows Levine and Prinsloo embracing each other fully naked, covered in blood.
  • In the bridge section near the end of the song, Adam Levine lets out a primal howl, which serves as both a musical element and an indication that he has caught his prey. This hunt technique was employed by Duran Duran in their 1982 hit "Hungry Like The Wolf."
  • The song was previewed in a commercial for the KIA Soul EV featuring the company's dancing hamsters. For a limited time after the ad first aired, the song was available for free download on the Kia website.
  • J Cole features on the song's remix, which was released on September 29, 2014 . He raps a verse detailing his addiction for the woman he desires.
  • There are some interesting transitions in this song that get the listener into the verses after the first two choruses. Each chorus begins with Levine singing, "Baby I'm...", and in each of these two sections, he abruptly ends the chorus with that same phrase as the music shifts. This dangling phrase adds to the impression that the guy in the song is a little unbalanced and certainly unpredictable.
  • RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, expressed concern over the video, saying it glorifies stalking behavior. "Maroon 5's video for "Animals" is a dangerous depiction of a stalker's fantasy - and no one should ever confuse the criminal act of stalking with romance," read a RAINN statement. "The trivialization of these serious crimes, like stalking, should have no place in the entertainment industry."
  • Hear those "Hey"s in the background vocals? When a technique shows up in a few hit songs, songwriters take notice; previous chart-dominating tracks with this backing include "Wiggle" by Jason Derulo, "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry, and "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea.

Comments: 8

  • Bridget from CoMy friend and I agree that Maroon 5 uses women as objects too much especially because of this song. Note this friend is a female (like me), and my friend who's her friend too seems to agree. I told him that my brother who's much younger than me played this and he said that was bad. I could not agree more.
  • Unknown from UnknownOmg the blood is so disturbing to me especially the end.
  • Shade from Cheese Doodle TopiaOh man that’s so disturbing...but I surely won’t let it take over the fact it’s a still a good sounding song and I really want to animate this with a different meaning. Please don’t let the meaning to ruin the fun.
  • Unknown from ArizonaThis is disturbing now that I understand what the song theme is about. I've heard people saying it's about sexual favors and stuff such close to that. But never will I listen to this again, Mostly for the sexual,'favors' inside the seems... Yikes....
  • AnonymousThe music video is very disturbing and he should have approached the video in another way but this is a very catchy song and I don't think Adam Levine meant for this to seem as if it is romanticizing stalking (although it is), we have to appreciate the work put into the words of the song.
  • Bridget from CoI think the other reason I'm shocked about the song is because I'm a tween and sensitive to that sort of thing.
  • Bridget from CoI am shocked at how inappropriate this can get. I read this article out of curiosity as a newer fan of Maroon 5, and I cannot believe that Levine would write about this. But to Mitmite9, I hope you're right! If Levine actually was stalking someone, then.. well, I don't know!
  • Mitmite9 from Santa BarbaraThat is incorrect. This "girl" was never "his." His entire "relationship" with her is all in his head. Watch the video. He works in a butcher shop. The woman is a customer. That is the extent of their interaction with one another - in reality.

    He may actually go so far as to break into her bedroom and lie next to her while she's asleep, but she has no clue that he is there beside her.

    I think the video is a masterpiece, from start to finish. At the very end, he awakens from his dream of being a stalker - a predatory animal. He may not even know the woman he has been dreaming of. It is shocking to him, the entire dream. Awesome.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dar Williams

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-Outs

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-OutsSong Writing

The 10 biggest "retirement tours" that didn't take.

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many Songs

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in Rock

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in RockSong Writing

We ring the Hell's Bells to see what songs and rockers are sincere in their Satanism, and how much of it is an act.

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock Photography

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock PhotographySong Writing

One of rock's top photographers talks about artistry in photography, raising funds for a documentary, and enjoying a County Fair with Tom Waits.

Psychedelic Lyrics

Psychedelic LyricsMusic Quiz

Whoa man! Do you know which band came up with these cosmic lyrics?