Friday, June 08, 2007

Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long

I got the new Maroon 5 a little earlier than it's American release as a gift from a friend of mine who had received it from the band themselves. I got the Japanese extended version of the album, which I understand has 3 extra tracks on the record, so please forgive me if I speak about songs that are not on the American release.

On to the review:

I can still remember where I was the first time I heard "Harder to Breathe" back in late 2003. I was pulling out of my guitar player's driveway and had just turned on the car and radio was blasting B93.7, our local Greenville Hits station. As the song coursed through my car's crappy speakers, I knew that this band or artist, whatever it was, was something different. The song was funky and rocking, and I wanted to hear it again. As the song finished, the DJ said it was a band called Maroon 5 and I remember thinking that was kind of a weird name, but the next day, I went out and bought the album.

"Songs About Jane" was a good record but a little incomplete, in my opinion. It had hits and a couple of great songs outside of the hits, but there was a bunch of filler. Where that record failed, this album makes up for in spades.

It's rare that every track on a record is worthy of a listen, but this album comes through on that level. Starting off with the funky Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones infused "If I Never See Your Face Again" the band lets you know that it is at its funky best and really never lets up till the closing notes of "Losing My Mind".

I don't know that there has been a catchier hook in recent memory than the chorus of "Makes Me Wonder". The verses are weaker, but the payoff on the chorus is well worth the wait. The song also includes one of the best pre-choruses I can remember with the lines: "I still don't have a reason/And you don't have the time/And it really makes me wonder if I ever gave a ____ about you" - the melody leading to the chorus is great, plus it adds a release from the tension created by the opening/verse chord progession. I won't say it's a perfect song, because the verses are a little weak, but there aren't a lot of songs in the last 5 years that got me like this one did, with the exception of maybe "This Love" from the band's debut.

"Little of Your Time", "Wake Up Call", "Can't Stop", "Kiwi", "Untill You're Over Me", and "Infatuation" show the band at it's funky best. I'm not a huge fan of funk, but Maroon 5's walking the thin line between funk and pop is reminiscent of 80's Michael Jackson, in that it's successful in melding the two while making it palatable to the mass audience. My favorite of the funky tracks (outside of "Makes Me Wonder") is "Wake Up Call". The song is basically the story of Adam Levine's (lead singer) character walking in to find his lover with another man, and how the character reacts to said developments. Not the brightest of songs, but if I'm guessing it will be a huge hit...strangely enough, the darkest song lyrically is one of the catchiest musically.

The band does stray away from the upbeat funk long enough to let loose several songs that are bound to be in 13 year old's mix tapes for years to come. "Won't Go Home Without You" is this album's answer to "She Will Be Loved"; "Nothing Last Forever" hashes out the chorus used on the Kanye West hit "Heard 'em Say" to make a song that I have a feeling will be a hit; "Goodnight, Goodnight" enters territory I haven't heard from this band before, starting off sounding like a Three Doors Down and moving into Coldplay-esque territory.

Some of my favorite songs on the album are songs that are clearly homages to the band's influences. "Not Falling Down" starts off sounding like a modern take on Sting and the Police, giving it a modern twist on the chorus. "Better That We Break" is an obvious homage to the Beatles, with it's "Hey Jude" rhythmic structure and chord change. "Back At Your Door", with it's 6/8 piano ballad feel and lush string arrangement feels like a 60's jazz-infused pop that Dusty Springfield or Smokey Robinson would have felt comfortable singing.

All in all, this record is an incredible record. I don't know that it will have as huge a hits ("This Love" is a tough act to follow), but in my opinion the record has more hits on it. Every song on this record is enjoyable on some level.

The album gets 4.8 out of 5 stars.


Cathy Storms (seestorms) said...

I love this album. I was not a big Maroon 5 fan until this album, but I am now.

ron said...

so Blake give you this? when are you beginning to rehearse? please keep blogging and keep us posted about your life.

gdahimself said...

To Chris,
From GDA

My understanding is that Japanese releases tend to have bonus tracks as an inducement to buy because they pay more for their music than we do.

bmorebamma said...

i have the maroon 5 cd but i haven't listend yet, btw speaking of kayne west , he's got a new cd comming out and the first track is really good imo . i can't remember the name right now , but man they seem to like it on the r&b station here in balto, the played it on the hour every hour. today

Carrie said...

I LOVE THIS CD SO MUCH. "Not Falling Apart" is my favorite but I love the entire thing.

Daniel said...

Haha 93.7's awesome, minus the overkill of "Irreplaceable" and "Lips of An Angel"

GirlyGirl45 said...

Hi, Chris and others!

I've only listened to Maroon 5 casually (via airplay), but I've usually liked what I heard. Thanks for this recommendation--I'll give them a more serious listen.
I have to say I was disappointed by their performance on Idol--I thought the lead's voice sounded weak, but maybe it was just an off night.

Daniel, I'd be a happy girl if I never heard Lips of an Angel EVER again.

karlmd said...

hey chris!

i'm a fan from Manila, Philippines and for several weeks have been lurking around your blog. ;-) this is my first post and i thought it was a perfect opportunity to comment because i TOTALLY agree with you. I love this album -- all the songs. But I especially love Back at Your Door and Infatuation.

Have a great time on tour!


P.S. You haven't been posting on TheologicalDigressions. I'm a fellow believer. It'll be interesting to see how a "Christ-follower" does in Hollywood. Hehe.

bmorebamma said...

hey i happen to like lipps of an angel, but ms, knowles is even gettin on some of my coworkers nerves , i always joke with one and she always give me this look. whenever it comes om the radio i say they are playing your song, it and we get a big laugh ha ha, but she knows that my least fave song of alltime is laffy taffy . yuk the worst song ever written ,recorded. even the dj's had to wonder bout playing that one.

bmorebamma said...

you must don't know bout me, you must don't know bout me i'll find another you in a minute , so he'll be here in a minute. don't you ever for a second think you're irreplaceable lol;)

Jon said...

i felt certain they wouldn't be able to top "this love," as that was a stellar album. i'll have to listen to this new one to see if i'm convinced (though i like what i've heard so far).

Lauren said...

You said: "Songs About Jane was a good record but a little incomplete, in my opinion. It had hits and a couple of great songs outside of the hits, but there was a bunch of filler."

I'm just curious as to which songs on that album were your favorites. It is the only Maroon 5 album I own, and I thought it was okay but not great.

AJ said...

Ok I've been on the fence about this cd, you just made me jump. I'll buy it! thanks!!

lll said...

I am really, really digging the new M5 record as well. The first one kind of passed me by... I liked the singles well enough and a few of them are floating around my iPod, but I never latched on. This album found its way into my hands sort of by accident, and I realized that, hey, I like Maroon 5. I always know when an album has grabbed me if I listen to it at work and find myself grooving without even knowing the words yet, and this album has passed that test.

Sarah said...

Great review! I love this album. Much like you, I've been a huge fan of Maroon 5 since I heard "Harder to Breathe". But since I'm pretty picky about the cd's I buy, I didn't actually get the album til "This Love" hit the radio. From then on, I was gone. I LOVE their sound, and some of my favorite tracks from "Songs About Jane" didn't even get released as singles.

I love this whole new album but "Wake Up Call" is probably my favorite track of them all. Like you said, it's odd that the darkest song on the album is the catchiest musically. But I really like it's sound - it draws you in first, then you listen to the lyrics and realize "man some chick really screwed with him!" Anyway, I agree - that one is going to be a huge hit. I thought that from the very first time I heard it.

tina said...

Yay! I love maroon 5's new album! and I totally agree that "Won't go home without you" is equivalent to what "She will be loved" was for their previous cd. I was soooo thinking that the other day! :)

LadyStyx said...

Bought the album shortly after reading this. It turned out to be a much better album than I expected. Thanks for the heads up.