Maroon 5 may have had the longest milking of any album in recent memory, taking their debut 'Songs About Jane' to the max before publicly saying it was over on their live album 'Friday The 13th.' 5 years may be an eternity in today's 'flavor of the day' music industry, but Adam Levine and Co. felt the landscape hasn't radically changed for them since 2002 and it shows in their sophomore release, 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long.'
Avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump, 'It Won't Be Soon' shows off 5 years of retooling and recrafting and while some of the soul-pop/rock overtones still exist in Maroon 5, it's been replaced mostly by the sounds crafted by Sting & The Police and Prince. That's a tall order for them, but it works in the band's favor because the lyrics work; also the album avoids the typical staleness of sophomore albums by remaining new and fresh somehow. The retooled sound is topped off with a cherry of light funk, a send-off to the music Adam Levine grew up on.
The album starts off with a bang with 'If I Never See Your Face Again,' which has a heavy 80's pop/rock feel, something out of Journey's playbook, especially the electric guitar riffs and small chorus shoutback. The song is accentuated by the electronic beats so it probably also fits bands like Killers and the Bravery quite well too. 'Makes Me Wonder' is an extremely fun song (no wonder it's a hit too); the song combines a roller-disco feel with a touches of modern techno beats. Real creative, with a touch of risk on the techno beats and Blake Lewis, if you happen to read this, better buy this album to get some ideas on your own debut album.
Wake Up Call is one of the favorite tracks in the album, drawing in the strength of the band with the heavy alt-rock influences Maroon (and before them Kara's Flowers) is known for. 'Wont Go Home Without You' draws a page turned from the Police smash hit 'Every Breath You Take' with the consistent beat but fusing it with overtones from 'She Will Be Loved' muddles what could have been a great song. Overall the song was OK because of the latter overtones. It started to wear down the base beats as the song wore on, clocked right under 4 minutes. 'Can't Stop' left me wanting more as it showcased more of the original sounds of the band; the song was way too short at only 2:32 and as said before, give me some more Adam and Co.!
Goodnight Goodnight is probably the best track in the album, as it pays a salute to Prince and his famous guitar riffs. In fact the song begins with a dark guitar riff that sets the tone for the song. 'Kiwi' is a rather frisky, even little naughty number drenched in juicy but subtle sexuality....certainly an interesting song in the album, but this reviewer enjoyed it. The album ends with the bluesy 'Back At Your Door,' probably a send-up to former technical labelmate John Mayer and his brand of funky blues-pop.
The album overall is fresh and without being overly...emulating. Some bands when they want to pay salutes to their influences, they get overly preachy, over-the-top and thick with over-imitation. Maroon 5 does a masterful job of paying homage to Prince and Police, along with a few other influences without losing the identity they have crafted since ending Kara's Flowers in 2001. The only thing I'd like to see from them and especially Levine is an eventual phase-out of generic romantic scenarios. Leave it to the sensitive singer-songwriters and even these days they are more specific with the tear-jerk romantic scenario. All in all, given the freshness of 'It Won't Be Soon,' don't be shocked this album wins a few accolades and be one of the big summer albums of 2007.
Name: It Won't Be Soon Before Long
Release Date: May 22, 2007
My rating: 4.3 out of 5
Alan Ho is the chief head of Musiqtone. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org