Sexier. Stronger. Lyrically darker. Those are the words used by front man Adam Levine to describe Maroon 5’s second studio release It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.
Those fans thinking they will hear something similar to Songs About Jane, think again. Levine and co. break all preconceived notions about their band. The band used four different producers, bringing a different feel to the album.
Levine said the album “sounds more like Maroon 5” and hopes it will help change perceptions of who they really are. He also said that they’re “becoming their own band.” And by becoming their own band, they stick to their original blueprint for success with some minor changes in the mix.
The 2005 Grammy Award winners took almost five whole years to completely their sophomore effort, the follow-up to 2002’s Songs About Jane. During those five years, co-founder and drummer Ryan Dusick left the group due to injuries suffered from touring. He was replaced by Matt Flynn, who gets his first opportunity to show his skills on this album.
The twelve song album starts with an 80s-sounding song called “If I Never See Your Face Again.” Levine sings with a player’s attitude and confidence. The guitar is funky, just like the beat, giving the track an extremely sexy feel.
But the funk doesn’t stop there. The second track and first single “Makes Me Wonder” is a smash hit of major funk proportions. It’s as catchy as wildfire and has been tearing up the charts. Despite the upbeat sound and funkiness, the lyrics are fairly cynical by Maroon 5 standards.
“Kiwi” also incorporates the funk theme of previous songs. At first, you might think you’re hearing a Michael Jackson song. The track comes complete with Prince-like influence and a very nice guitar solo.
“Wake Up Call” is scheduled to be the second single off of the album. The song has a hip-hop-esque beat, something different for M5. On this track, we hear what Levine spoke of when he said lyrically darker.
In 2005, rapper Kanye West featured lead singer Levine on the song “Heard ‘Em Say” singing the hook. Levine expanded the hook into the song “Nothing Lasts Forever” for this album, one of the standout tracks. It’s a really mellow track with great lyrics.
Another fast-paced song, “Can’t Stop”, provides a great rock song with a funky edge to the album. With this song, listeners can hear the sexier side of M5 that Levine spoke about. “Won’t Go Home Without You” and “Not Falling Apart” are tracks that sound similar to the typical Maroon 5 fashion heard on SAJ. The songs have a distinct Police/Sting sound to them.
The piano and singing on “Better That We Break” are reminiscent of a Beatles song, but with classic Levine sounding vocals. The sad, downtrodden song will touch anyone who has broken up with a significant other and had a tough time with it.
“Goodnight, Goodnight” and “Little Of Your Time” are relatively weak songs and sound whiny at times. They are the downsides of the album, without a doubt. The album closes out with “Back At Your Door,” a bluesy love ballad. It almost sounds like the type of song you might hear a female lounge singer performing.
All in all, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long constitutes a solid sophomore effort by Maroon 5, especially with all the accompanying pressure to deliver from fans and critics. They have done just that…deliver.
Album grade: B
“If I Never See Your Face Again”
“Makes Me Wonder”
“Nothing Lasts Forever”
“Back At Your Door”Powered by Sidelines