Maroon 5
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Maroon 5

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Capturing their first of two Grammys as Best New Artist of 2005, and going on to sell more than ten million albums worldwide, Maroon 5 won plaudits with the hybrid rock/R&B sound they introduced on their debut album Songs About Jane. On May 22nd, after four years and live shows alongside the likes of The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder, the quintet is set to release their much-anticipated second album, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long (A&M/Octone Records). Listeners can expect this sophomore outing to be “sexier,” “stronger” and even “lyrically darker” than Jane, according to vocalist/guitarist Adam Levine, who affirms that “it’s rooted in what we’ve always been, which is different.”

The album, recorded in their home town of Los Angeles, was guided by producers Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Eminem), Mark “Spike” Stent (Gwen Stefani, Bjork, Keane, Marilyn Manson), Mark Endert (Madonna, Fiona Apple) and Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Nickel Creek). It also reflects the contributions of new drummer Matt Flynn, whose harder beats complement the evolved sound of Levine, guitarist James Valentine, bassist Mickey Madden and keyboardist Jesse Carmichael. “We’re all really happy with the finished product,” says Levine, crediting the label for welcoming new sounds and textures. “With Jane you could pick out our influences pretty easily, but now it sounds more like Maroon 5,” says Levine. “We’re becoming our own band, and I think this album will help change perceptions of who we really are.”

From first single, “Makes Me Wonder,” it is clear that Maroon 5 has once again captured all of the elements that create a universally popular pop rock song. The song segues from a bass heavy intro to an infectiously catchy melody that soon belies the sentiment, “Give me something to believe in because I don’t believe in you anymore.” Beneath the surface, it also incorporates what Adam Levine calls “an increasing dissatisfaction with the direction of the world” and its leaders, imparting a new layer of meaning to an otherwise upbeat breakup song. “If I Never See Your Face” offers brash honesty in the wake of a fling, its spare guitar over a steady beat tipping its hat to Quincy Jones. A burst of electronica opens “Wake Up Call,” whose hip-hop sensibility guides a dark story exploring the depths of betrayal and rage.

It Won’t Be Soon Before Long mines its share of hopefulness as well. In the hyperkinetic rock meets hip-hop of “A Little of Your Time” (which Levine calls “the most unique track on this album, with some of the best lyrics we’ve ever written”), a relationship must overcome the challenge of distrust and miscommunication to persevere, and the bass-pulsing “Won’t Go Home Without You” asks plaintively for “one more chance to make it right.”

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