Release Date: June 25, 2002
Reviewed by Andy Schwegler
Like pop music but too afraid to admit it? Or maybe you are too “underground” to appreciate a well-written pop song? Here ladies and gentlemen are your scapegoats. As catchy as Justin Timberlake but with that nice tinge of indie cred, Maroon 5 have helped (or will help) re-awaken mainstream pop/dance with their Octone Records debut, Songs about Jane.
Formerly Kara’s Flowers, a band more grounded in the indie rock/college radio genres, the 4 gentlemen (plus one new member) reemerged in 2002 with a more hip-hop/dance influenced, structured writing style of the Big Apple. 1 might be a bit late with this review considering this album was released well over a year ago, I feel it is perfect timing considering the mainstream exposure they are now finally receiving.
Songs about Jane is a wonderful cluster-fuck of styles and influences. Combining the gritty, indie rock of their former selves much in the vain of The White Stripes or The Strokes along with the sexy groove of Jamiroquai or Justin Timberlake. Even though they are receiving a flavor-of-the-month exposure with singles like Harder to Breathe and This Love, it has a wonderful timeless, classic pop album quality from the 70’s or 80’s.
Adam Levine’s voice is a bit awkward at first listen, but it infectiously grows upon you, making high pitches and strange quirks hit right at home. These human qualities that are absent in the pop mainstream, make this record work on the many different levels of popularity (from the pretentious indie elitist to the college radio, Phantom Planet lover all the way up to the weeknight club goer who’s favorite “jam” is Trick Daddy’s Nann Nigga) Oh yeah, they all play their own instruments and *gasp* write their own songs.
Now excuse me, I have to rewire my brain to accurately review The Locust.
Recommended Track(s) : Sunday Morning and Shiver