Maroon 5

I have mixed feelings about Maroon 5. I thought their first single from “Songs About Jane”, “Harder To Breathe” was a stonker and duly went out and bought the album, only to discover that the remainder was made up of radio-friendly chick rock. So it was with baited breath that I plugged myself into their latest offering.

“It Won’t Be Soon Before Long”, Maroon 5’s improbably-named ‘sophomore’ album, starts off promisingly, with opener “If I Never See Your Face Again” segueing into first single “Makes Me Wonder” in a Jamiroquai-esque funk fest. Both tracks get the feet tapping and are generally safe and inoffensive. As we continue, this continues and the songs remain rather mainstream.

Not that that’s a completely bad thing: after all mainstream songs are the most popular of the moment, the ones that everyone’s listening to. It’s just that the most outstanding tracks have at least a bit of edge. By “Wake Up Call”, I’m still waiting for this album’s standout track…

It finally (kind of) arrives, in the form of “Nothing Lasts Forever” – the track from which Adam Levine took the lines that he sang in Kanye West’s “Heard ‘Em Say”. So it’s recognisable and opens with a jangly guitar that’s different to Maroon 5’s other tracks. But it’s still, well fluffy.

My look of relief as “Can’t Stop” begins is tangible. It’s got the mixture of funk and rock that made “Harder To Breathe” really stand out in ’03. It works turned up loud, is still recognisable when played in the background and has a bridge that sounds a bit like The Police. Shame the subject matter’s a bit grubby.

Of the remaining tracks, “Goodnight Goodnight” does what it says on the tin, and “Better That We Break” is another break up song that’ll probably end up in the background of some romantic movie. On the plus-side, “Not Falling Apart” continues comparisons with The Police, while “Kiwi” isn’t a million miles away from The Chillis.

So it’s more of the same from Maroon 5. They still do the radio-friendly unit shifters very well, but with this album they’re starting to sneak away from chick rock. Maybe by album four they may have 12 tracks with more universal appeal.

Simon Middleyard