Tuesday, June 5, 2007

make me think but don't deceive me.

Artist: Maroon 5
Album: It Won't Be Soon Before Long
Label: A&M/Octone Records
Release Date: 5.22.07

I’ll admit it, I was one of those people who got bitter when Maroon 5 first appeared on mainstream radio, and then proceeded to become even more bitter when they got overplayed. I hated that I had been listening to Songs About Jane for a solid year before anyone else had ever heard of it. I hated that they kept re-recording those songs instead of writing new ones. However, I feel it’s been sufficiently long enough for me to come to terms with these things and to welcome a new album with open arms. Let’s see how It Won’t Be Soon Before Long plays out.

The album kicks off with the funky “If I Never See Your Face Again,” full of grooving guitars and high notes from singer Adam Levine. If Justin Timberlake used instruments instead of beats, this is what it would sound like. Accented with handclaps and harmonizing backup vocals, this track is pure awesome pop.

Levine’s lyrics are still as intensely sensual as ever, but never so that you catch it on the first listen. Once you decipher his falsetto and think hard about the lyrics, you might be taken aback at how sexual it is. I think this is great. Finally, someone in mainstream radio realizes that you can put sex in a song without resorting to crude terminology or coarse advances.

“Little Of Your Time” is a fast-paced, heavy hitting track with a percussion line oddly reminiscent of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” Levine’s cadence is much more rapid on this song, a style I didn’t know he was capable of. It’s great to see him show some versatility.

“Won’t Go Home Without You” is the album’s first ballad and is very much in the vein of “She Will Be Loved.” While much of the lyrical matter on the album still focuses on women and relationships, I still feel that Levine has become a better lyricist than on the last album. The songs are not so straightforward and storylike, and he’s better at pairing words with hooks.

“Can’t Stop” also contains a foot-stomping beat. With so many songs on this album, Maroon 5 show us that they excel at faster tempos, something that we didn’t get to see much of on their original album.

“Goodnight Goodnight” may be the best ballad the band has ever written, with floating choruses and Levine sounding wistful throughout. It sounds like it would make for an excellent single.

The album’s final track, “Back At Your Door,” displays a wonderful jazzy melody that again shows us the wide musical range of the band. The song acts as a perfect closer: it winds up the album nicely, while still leaving you wanting more.

Originally, I was annoyed at the band for making us wait for so long to hear new material. While I still don’t think they needed to take that long, if this album is what we get for waiting, I’m more than happy to wait a few more years for the next one.

01. If I Never See Your Face Again *
02. Makes Me Wonder
03. Little Of Your Time
04. Wake Up Call *
05. Won't Go Home Without You
06. Nothing Lasts Forever
07. Can't Stop
08. Goodnight Goodnight
09. Not Falling Apart
10. Kiwi
11. Better That We Break
12. Back At Your Door *

* - standout tracks

For fans of: Black Eyed Peas, The Goo Goo Dolls, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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1 comment:

Maroon World said...

I really enjoyed reading your review, and I almost agree on every little thing you mentioned there.

Goodnight Goodnight, is the best written and sung song on the album, Adam's voice is very moving and sensual in it, and not to sound too sappy or anything but sometimes it brings tears to my eyes, the music and the lyrics are just really haunting there.

I say well done to Maroon 5, after this awful long hiatus.

Thank you for writing this, it was very helpful.