Maroon 5 - It Won't be Soon Before Long

It stinks. Surprised ? Maroon 5’s follow-up to their billion-selling debut album ‘Songs About Jane’ is as characterless as mainstream pop-rock gets. The idea, to be fair, is fine : five cool-ish looking guys who can play a bit, with a singer who can actually sing, go for the mainstream jugular with hook-laden songs of the funky rock variety. And to their credit, two singles taking hold on the collective consciousness (‘She Will be Loved’, ‘This Love’) is more than most bands manage. Obviously in a world where Snow Patrol prevail, that’s not necessarily a good thing but hey …

To be fair, it’s not all bad, but it’s close. ‘Won’t Go Home Without You’, a certainty for future single release, is really good with a cracking big fat singalong chorus. ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ is a decent piece of ‘It’s over, baby’ introspection. But they’re exceptions to the Maroon 5 stiff funk-rock rule. Lyricsa are particularly poor and mired in far too much fondness for rock rhyming cliché. Current single ‘Makes me Wonder’ starts : “Wake up with bloodshot eyes, struggle to memorize the way it felt between your thighs.” For a moment consider what singer Adam Levine has done there. Not only has he written that line, he’s happily published it for general consumption. On one level, it’s just about the worst piece of sixth form heart-on-sleeve confessional I’ve ever seen. On another it’s just bloody funny.

This record sounds like it’s had the air sucked out of it. The production, entirely inorganic and swamped by programming, has that juddery, staccato, quality – aural sandpaper . Dried peas as snare drum. On ‘Kiwi’ they sound like Jamiroquai doing an INXS b-side. If they can manage to play live as an unsupported 5 piece then they’re risking an audience familiar with the records wondering if they’ve got the right band. In fact, it’s a little bit surprising that they’ve managed to so blatantly avoid being any good. I mean, you get a singer with a half decent white soul voice (and Levine is clearly not half bad) and model looks, stick him in front of four vaguely bohemian types with long hair and velvet jackets and … bingo. No ? No. ‘It Won’t be Soon Before Long’, an album title dreamt up in a desperate attempt to build enigma if ever I saw one, is lifeless, bloodless, soulless. There’s simply too much compelling young talent banging on the door to let this plasticky twaddle through. A&M, that most conservative of major labels, probably think they’ve got the new REM. Ha ! They haven’t even got the new Counting Crows.

Overall

3

out of 10

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