Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long
Review by Jack Foley
THE sophomore album from Maroon 5 is, according to guitarist James Valentine, a “more danceable” version of their debut that goes looking towards 80s icons Prince, Michael Jackson and Talking Heads for its inspiration.
So, while it remains rooted in pop sensibility, it’s also slightly more aggressive, upbeat and pounding. And while Adam Levine’s distinct vocal style ensures that the band’s signature sound is retained, there are also nods to plenty of other sources, incluidng Justin Timberlake at one point.
The result is slick, polished and perfectly OK for easy listening – but it struggles to leave a really lasting impression and ultimately underwhelms.
Of the worthwhile stuff, Until You’re Over Me is a better example of the band’s ability to come up with a thrilling pop moment. It opens like a Raspberry Beret-era Prince record and unfolds into a lively, upbeat number that should have little difficulty in getting people’s feet tapping.
While Infatuation trades well on Levine’s falsetto vocal style and includes some piercing strings over the chorus. It’s another tale of love and longing that actually manages not to sound too sentimental.
The “pounding” that Levine refers to in the PR notes is fully evident on the vibrant Little Of Your Time, which cuts quite a funky strut with its effervescent mix of Prince-style beats and stop-start power guitar riffs.
And the urban-style electronic intro that signals the start of Wake Up Call – and then drifts in and out – is definitely ripped right out of Justin Timberlake Future Sex/Love Sounds era. Amazingly, however, it doesn’t fare badly and has to rate as another firm favourite.
Fans of She Will Be Loved are sure to swoon for Won’t Go Home Without You, a song that perfectly embodies why Maroon 5 became such a household name in the first place. It’s the sort of positive love song that’s tailor-made for soundtracks and which unashamedly manages to conquer even the hardest heart.
And let’s reserve the final praise for Nothing Lasts Forever, another upbeat ballad that once again finds Levine and co at the top of their game.
But every time you think the album might win you over, it proceeds to deliver a sticky moment. Lead single Makes Me Wonder is a drab attempt at making things funky that’s just plain average, while songs like Not Falling Apart (with its cheesy “woo, hoo, hoo” intro and Simply Red mentality) and the lacklustre Kiwi (a sub-standard attempt to replicate both the funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Thriller era vocal style of Michael Jackson) do nothing to endear the album to you.
The result is a sophomore effort that’s not without merit but which needs to work much harder to achieve anything that’s really worth writing home about.
Download picks: Wake Up Call, Won’t Go Home Without You, Nothing Lasts Forever, Until You’re Over Me, Infatuation