Maroon 5 debuted its first album, “Songs About Jane” (Octone/J Records), on June 25, 2002. Since then, the band has released four additional albums; “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” “Hands All Over,” “Overexposed” and its latest album, “V.” Over time, its sound has changed from soulful, jazzy pop rock on “Songs About Jane,” to solely pop music on its fifth album, “V.”
“Songs About Jane” was not an instant success. It was re-released twice after its initial release, and it took five singles to really get recognition for the album, including notable tracks like “She Will Be Loved,” “This Love” and “Harder To Breathe.” By 2004, “Songs About Jane” was a platinum record.
Today, “Songs About Jane” has sold over five million copies. Maroon 5 is now a mega-famous pop band that has toured across the world. Adam Levine, the band’s front man, has made a name for himself, thanks to his unique tenor voice. He has also served as a judge on the reality talent show The Voice.
Through “Songs About Jane,” the band established itself as a sex symbol with songs like “This Love,” “Shiver” and “Secret.” Every single song has at least one sexually suggestive line, and this theme has continued to be a prominent and driving force in all of Maroon 5’s albums, like in the songs “Animals” and “Hands All Over.”
The band’s 12-track freshman album is ordered in a way that may resemble the progression of a relationship. Its title, “Songs About Jane,” is quite literal. Jane was an ex-girlfriend of Levine’s, and the entire album was inspired by their relationship, according to an interview with MTV in August 2002.
“There’s at least one line in every song about her,” Levine said in the interview.
The album begins with “Harder To Breathe” and “This Love,” which indicate the struggles of a relationship. The next several tracks are either about sex or love. “Must Get Out,” the seventh track, expresses a rocky period of the relationship. The last three tracks are fitting to end the album. “Through With You” and “Not Coming Home” are bitter, resentful and angry songs about the relationship once it’s gone wrong. “Sweetest Goodbye,” the final song of the album, has the lyrics, “I’ll never leave you behind or treat you unkind. I know you understand,” which describes a peaceful departure and the end of the singer’s relationship with Jane.
“Songs About Jane” is a catchy pop album consisting of borderline-cliché love songs, typical of the pop genre. What “Songs About Jane” had to offer that Maroon 5’s most recent albums lack is an almost funky, jazzy vibe, which really adds a uniqueness to the pop feel.
With its latest album, “V,” the modern Maroon 5 gave us a compilation of radio hits like “Sugar.” While I admit the songs are undeniably catchy, I believe Maroon 5 did its best work in its earliest albums, “Songs About Jane” and “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” when it still had variety throughout the songs and incorporated many different sounds and instruments into the music.
Favorite Track: “Sunday Morning”
My favorite track on “Songs About Jane” is also one of my favorite songs of all time. “Sunday Morning” is an upbeat, soulful love song that boasts poetically romantic lyricism and an impressive jazz ensemble, complete with a piano solo and a saxophone solo. This song has excellent imagery with lyrics like, “Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable, you twist to fit the mold that I am in.” I recommend not watching the music video, because the picture you paint in your head, according to the lyrics, is likely much better than the music video. Keep the mystery of the music alive by using your imagination. This song is just a brilliant collaboration of beautiful lyricism combined with soul-stirring instrumentals.
Favorite Line: “Sunday morning, rain is falling / Steal some covers, share some skin”
— Edited by Mitch Raznick