Sunday, May 27, 2007

Maroon 5: Adam Levine Drops His Girlfriend (And Decides to Write An Album About It)

LA-based Maroon 5 (formerly known as Kara's Flowers), have released their highly anticipated follow up to their 2002 Platinum selling 'Songs About Jane' album featuring the radio staple hit 'This Love'. The new album is entitled 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long', and is released off the back of the infectious hit single 'Makes Me Wonder'.

Was the wait worth it?

The album is packed with mixed emotions (courtesy of singer/guitaristAdam Levine). Based on the personal reflections of the songs, it seems that Levine recently split up with his girlfriend. He's chosen the new Maroon 5 album as the place to rant his frustration about the break-up.

But why subject his listeners to this for an entire album?

What happend to the bluesy funk on 'Shiver' and the infectious, soulful mindset on 'Harder to Breathe'. What happened to the sexy strut the permeated the 'Songs About Jane' album?

What happened to Maroon 5?

'It Won't Be Soon Before Long' is the hotly tipped Maroon 5 album follow-up. It's about exciting as trip to Wal-Mart. The problem is, aside from the brilliant pop power of 'Makes Me Wonder', the rest of the songs on the album are more 'Plain Jane' than cutting edge. This album makes the Killers sound like Led Zeppelin.

Maroon 5 need to find Levine a girlfriend.

The album is already selling millions of copies in America. Adam and his slicker than now cohorts hammed it up on American Idol a few weeks ago, and as a result their single went back in to the No.1 spot in the singles chart. I mean, anything is possible. Look at Jordin Sparks!

I just can't help but notice that Adam doesn't look like he's having a good time. He looks bored out of his skull, kind of like he'd rather be doing something else.

'Makes Me Wonder' includes the lyric - "I don't believe in you anymore." You're left feeling sorry for Adam.

But not for long.

As the other songs on the album begin to unfold, the song titles seem as if they were written by a thirteen year old manic depressive - 'Little Of Your Time', 'Wake Up Call', 'Won't Go Home Without You', 'Nothing Lasts Forever', 'Not Falling Apart', 'Better That We Break'.

The new album lacks any kind of edge.

I am amazed because Maroon 5 could have produced a really good follow-up album, but instead they've come back with something to the equivalent of elevator mood music for rock'n'roll executives who are only interested in one-night stands; the same guys who are too worried about scratching the company car.

If Octone (the independent label that originally signed Maroon 5) is in bed with Universal Music for worldwide distribution, you just know the album has been market researched to the point where all the originality, blood, sweat and tears the band have put into this effort, was mass processed for Orange County bratpack rich girls who think Adam is a pin-up, while male teens aspire to be just like him.

The other thing about the album is that someone has told the band to come up with some songs with an "Every Breath You Take" bassline on 'Won't Go Home Without Y0u' and Andy Summers' signature Police guitar riff on 'Every Breath You Take' on 'Not Falling Apart'. The Police did it better.

It's not all bad.

Take'Goodnight Goodnight' - one of the memorable ballads. Nice opening guitair riff and some soothing vocals from Levine. Radio friendly and inoffensive. It's the kind of song they'd probably play during the end credits on a Kevin Costner movie. It's kind of retro, but at the same time, didn't Phil Collins record this kind of stuff back in the eighties?

As the album progresses, Adam comes up with some tunes that are familiar to vintage Prince circa 'Purple Rain' and 'Parade' albums. In particular 'Kiwi' sounds like it could be the bastard child of 1999 (without the bells and whistles).

The band saves some of their more compelling songs for last (track #11 'Better That We Break' and track #12 'Back At Your Door').

What is it with Universal slapping a 'Special Edition' sticker on the front of the CD jewell case?
Is it really so special that the album contains two bonus tracks. Maybe it's a marketing ploy to get people like me to make an impulse purchase for the extra tracks. What's ironic is that the two bonus tracks are two of the best songs on the album. What's it supposed to mean? That the other Maroon 5 tracks are not deemed 'bonus eligible' because they weren't an after thought?

The two bonus tracks in questions 'Until You're Over Me' (vintage Prince) and 'Infatuation' are what 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long' should have been all about. I am sure the band know that the big compromise on this album (via the safety-in-numbers bubblegum pop-rock sound) will fly. Is this album that defines what Maroon 5 are really all about?

No pun intended, but it kind of makes me wonder.

Adam Levine puts an altogether new spin on sleepwalking, particularly during the video for 'Makes Me Wonder' -

Adam Levine will continue to experience iffy relationships, he'll fall in love too easily, and suckers like you and I will continue to pay for the abuse with the hope that one fine day he'll write the pop masterpiece we all know is inside him.

Wake up Adam, it's not too late. Stop wondering about it. Just do it.