Sometimes First Is Best

Yeah yeah yeah. I missed Wednesday. I’d ask if I should officially make it Saturday, but hey I missed that too. But you know what? Yesterday was stressful and the Oscars are today so I gotta get this off my chest before I kick my sisters ass in guessing who gets the awards. Who am I kidding? She’s gonna beat me like she always does.

Point is, I’m pulling out an old favorite this week.

Album: Songs About Jane                                                     Artist: Maroon 5


Ok, so if you know me, you know how I feel about Maroon 5. I’ll try not to say anything too mean here, but basically everything they’ve put out since It Won’t Be Soon Before Long has NOT been up to par. And by that I mean they sold out (What? Who said that?). Generally I try not to accuse artists of “selling out” because it get’s thrown out too often any time a band — dare I say it? — changes their sound. Just because a band decides to experiment a little does not by any means mean that they’ve completely forsaken anything they’ve ever believed in to make a little cash.

But Maroon 5…. well I guess they just disappointed me.

Songs About Jane was Maroon 5’s debut album, and boy was it good. Released in late June of 2002, the album climbed it’s way into the top sellers in basically about a million and a half countries. With good reason.

Sputnik Music’s (let’s be honest, I don’t know what his name is but his profile is here) summed up my feelings about the album pretty nicely when he said he had never loved/hated an album so much. It’s a great album, even if I sort of despise the band who put it out.

The thing about music is it’s always changing, and there are always a few key artists who influence those changes more than others. I am 100% willing to argue that Maroon 5 was one of these artists (for better or for worse) when they put out Songs About Jane. I mean, this was the early 2000s, and this album managed to capture that late 90s transition sound while completely bringing in something new. This is what early 2000s pop was meant to be.

I think one of the important things about Songs About Jane is that it is far less produced than any of Maroon 5’s other albums. Even It Won’t Be Soon Before Long was starting to border on over-produced. Adam Levine’s voice is much less annoying on this album. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it isn’t annoying at all. Sure, it’s the same voice, but it’s darker and more honest on Songs About Jane — and his voice isn’t the only thing that’s different. I think what I like most about this album is that it IS a pop album, but for the love of all that is good and holy you can hear real instruments. I mean, I’m not denying they don’t exist on any of the band’s newer stuff, but let’s be honest here: James Valentine is a very talented guitarist and you would never know it if you didn’t listen to this album!

The sound on this album pulls from all kinds of influences — there is so much variety here! From the somewhat Stevie Wonder influenced “The Sun” to Michael Jackson-esque vocals to the alt-meets-funk rock of “Not Coming Home.” It’s all there.

And really, it’s hard to hate this album while Levine croons dark and twisty love songs at you from your computer speakers. The lyrical content on this album ranges from the sultry “Shiver” to the upbeat yet cynical “This Love.” And not to mention the slow honesty found in “She Will Be Loved.” I’m not saying the lyrics on this album are going to go down in history as the most beautiful words ever written, but hey. They aren’t bad for such a cliché.

So, there you have it. My absolute favorite most hated album. Until Maroon 5 admits to secretly loving this album and starts writing it’s equivalent, my personal vendetta will continue. And this album will be playing on full blast.

Thoughts? Share here, Facebook, or twitter! Until next week, keep listening! And because posting YouTube videos is extremely fun, watch Adam Levine and Jimmy Fallon have some fun!

**Side Note: If you watch The Voice (which I don’t, but I’ve seen a few episodes) or ever seen Adam Levine in an interview, it’s really hard to hate the guy, which only strengthens my inner Maroon 5 conflict…

***Also, Sputnik Article referenced above is here


1 thought on “Sometimes First Is Best

  1. Totally unrelated to the album in discussion here (which I do like, very much), your 2nd & 3rd sentences made me think of the opening lines of “Sister Golden Hair” by America. 😀 (Which, now that I listen & think of it, is a horrible name for a song.)


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