The album received generally mixed reviews from music critics, though many of them praised it for its production. Some critics have noted that the album features more of a soulful style than Maroon 5's previous works. Maroon 5 went on tour in the summer of 2011, to promote the album.
The band began writing the songs from the third album, after winding down from a world tour in support of their second album It Won't Be Soon Before Long. Several months later, the band received a phone call from Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who had heard the band were beginning to write a new album, and expressed an interest in producing it. In a press release on their official website, the album is described as "a killer hybrid of rock, pop, funk and R&B."
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the band revealed they spent two months writing and recording their third album with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange in his recording studio in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Lead singer Adam Levine, spoke about the experience of working with Lange: "He worked me harder than anyone ever has," [...] "I would come in with a finished song, and he'd say, 'That's a good start. Now strip it down to the drums and start over.' The coolest thing about him is that not only has he been a huge, legendary producer, but he also is a legit, serious writer."Rolling Stone has said that the resulting disc is the band's brightest-sounding and poppiest yet and that it delivers Lange's mix of catchy hooks and punchy rhythms. Levine has also said about the album: "Our first record was a reflection of my love for Stevie Wonder. With the second I kept going back and forth between Prince and The Police. But there was no one on my mind for this album. It's just great pop." The album artwork was revealed on July 1, 2010. The cover photo for the album was taken by 19-year old photographer Rosie Hardy, who also serves as the model in the photo. Hardy took the photo herself, in just under an hour, in her own bedroom in the town of Buxton in the United Kingdom.
On the Billboard 200, the album debuted at number two, which despite a high placement sold a relatively weak 142,000 copies, compared to their previous effort, which debuted at number-one with 429,000 copies. In the second week, it dropped to #9. In November 2010 the album was certified Gold by RIAA, denoting a sales of at least 500,000 copies in the United States. In an interview with Billboard, Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine expressed some frustration in the lackluster sales of the Hands All Over, saying a new album may be coming sooner than was originally planned. "Of course we could have liked it to have done better so far," Valentine told Billboard, "It hasn't sold at the pace that our previous records did." The lack of response to the latest record has the band thinking about recording another album sooner than they originally planned, but according to Valentine "that may not be a bad thing". However, on the week of September 24, 2011, the album returned to the top 10 for the first time since its second week on the chart last October, climbing from number 23 to number 7 with 29,000 copies sold. This was spurred on by a four-day $6.99 sale price in the iTunes Store as well as the success of "Moves Like Jagger", and represented the album's best sales frame since its second chart week and highest rank since its debut. The album was certified platinum in January 9, 2012. and as of April 2012 it has sold 1,079,000 copies in the United States.
In April 2011, the album was certified as gold album in Japan for having more than 100,000 copies shipped to stores.
Despite reviews being generally mixed, the album holds a Metacritic score 63 out of 100, based on 10 reviews.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic rated the album very highly with 4.5 out of 5 stars, stating that: "Some of the cuts may not sink their hooks in immediately, but track for track Hands All Over is Maroon 5's best album, capturing their character and craft in a cool, sleek package". Bill Lamb from About.com was also positive, awarding it with 4 stars (out of 5), saying: "For their third studio album Maroon 5 add a bit more rock and it looks good on them. There is a loosening up in sound here while keeping the infectious hooks that have always been a major part of the group's appeal. Don't go looking for exceptional depth, but in a period in which mainstream pop sounds are ruling the charts again, Maroon 5 provide a good lesson in exactly how to make a solid pop album".
The IGN review rated Hands All Over seven-stars out of ten, claiming that the album is "programmed to hit all the bases: dance-y tracks, pop anthems, quasi-ballads. Almost every song on this record could be a single...Even though it's formulaic and delivers no surprises, fans of Maroon 5 should find exactly what they are looking for from this record." Jakob Dorof from Slant Magazines review was mixed saying, "It adds a few more gems to the band's growing cache of incredible pop singles and overlooked deep cuts, Hands All Over makes some decent contributions to what could wind up being Maroon 5's true redemption: a damn fine greatest hits record." The Los Angeles Times review say that: "Hands All Over reveals less about who frontman Adam Levine is than did Maroon 5's previous records; too often the songs cleave to opaque generalities". Hugh Montgomery in The Observer wrote that 'Jaunty funk-pop and blustery arena balladry remain the order of the day, while Adam Levine's falsetto whine still proffers all the emotional gravitas of a mosquito'.
Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone claimed, "at the helm, the dozen songs on Hands All Over are models of craftsmanship and efficiency ..." Fraser McAlpine of BBC Music noticed that "The rude guitar sleaze of Hands All Over, or the cocky glam-stomp in Stutter's verses show a band who are really at their best when they play pop music like the sleazy rockers they clearly are."The Boston Globe review felt that "This is lead singer Adam Levine's show. Thus, the band's success lives and dies with his delivery. That delivery remains technically sound, though as a whole, the band underwhelms here". The Now review also felt that "It's an accomplished record for singer Adam Levine and his faceless group, even if the whole affair sometimes sounds clinical in its approach". The Yahoo! Music UK review was mixed, saying that "It's hard to imagine how Hands All Over could have been any more underwhelming. In truth the only exceptional thing about it is just how average it is". The Entertainment Weekly review concluded that "Hands, competent and studio-sleek as it is, too often begs for a fresher muse.
The third official single, "Never Gonna Leave This Bed", was released to Australian radio in January 2011. In late January 2011, the song was listed under Cool New Music on All Access in the Hot Adult Contemporary section and in early February 2011, it started gaining airplay there, even though an official Hot AC radio adds date never came to fruition. It officially impacted mainstream radio on May 17, 2011. The music video was shot on January 12, 2011. The video premiered on February 4, 2011. The band performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on January 17, 2011. The song debuted at #35 on the Billboard's Hot Adult Pop Songs and reached #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The fourth official single, "Moves Like Jagger", featuring Christina Aguilera, was released on June 21, 2011, being the first single from the re-release of the album. The song debuted at number 8 on the Hot 100, the first Top 10 for Maroon 5 and Aguilera, since "Makes Me Wonder" and "Keeps Gettin' Better" respectively. The song peaked at #1 on the issue of August 31, 2011, making this song the band's second #1 (after "Makes Me Wonder" in 2007) and Aguilera's fifth number-one (after "Lady Marmalade" in 2001).
A music video for the title track, "Hands All Over", was released in December 2010. Its music video, which was directed by Don Tyler, was released on December 22, 2010 and features stylized animations of the band members and a flirtatious nude woman.
A music video for the song "Runaway" was released on April 4, 2011 and instead of featuring the five members of the band, this clip focuses on a surfer who enjoys riding the wave and finds solitude in the sea. The song was not released, so far, as a single.
A music video for "Out of Goodbyes" was released on May 16, 2011 featuring Dwight Yoakam and model/actress Diora Baird. It shows the woman cleaning a bloody wound and removing a bullet from the man's chest, after which she gets up to leave, but grabs her revolver and shoots him.
"Stutter" charted at #84 on the Billboard Hot 100, due to strong digital downloads when the album was released.