You know those wacky marketing people who find obscure bands to feature in prominent commercials, exposing us all to great songs that none of us have heard before? This is not a story about that. I had Songs About Jane by Maroon 5 weeks before I heard their track "This Love" featured in some commercial for women's jeans.
Songs About Jane could live up to its title. We don't know who Jane is, or if she's a metaphorical composite of several women in the life of lead singer/guitarist Adam Levine (who was either the sole writer or co-writer of all the tracks on the album), but each of the tracks paints a particular picture of aspects of a woman's personality or episodes in a relationship. The fact that these great lyrics and haunting vocal track is backed by a band that is at times light and funky and at others solemn and touching just adds to the incredible package that is Maroon 5's debut. You'd never expect this kind of soul from a bunch of white boys from Los Angeles.
Whoever Jane is — and she is listed as "my muse" in Levine's thank yous in the album liner notes — she obviously had a torrid impact on his songwriting. The love/hate/need combination weaves its way through the entire album. One side of the spectrum is evident in songs like "Harder To Breathe," "Through With You" and "Not Coming Home," which accurately convey the urgent frustration present in recognizing the need to end a hurtful partnership. To keep us from thinking that Jane is an evil bitch, the album also offers what might be seen as apologies from a man, accepting some blame for what might have gone wrong, in the form of songs like "She Will Be Loved," "The Sun" and "Tangled."