Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane (2002)

Jesse Stiller, Eastside Staff

Before the signature pop song “Payphone” and the game-changing song “Moves Lie Jagger,” there was the funky, laid back sound of Songs About Jane by Maroon 5.

For those who have been missing out on the music scene, Maroon 5 is a group that first formed in 1994 under the name Kara’s Flowers. At first a grunge band, Kara’s Flowers signed with Reprise Records and released the album The Fourth World, a power pop and alternative rock album. The album was a commercial failure, and Kara’s Flowers was dumped from the label in 1999 while recording its unreleased sophomore effort called Stagg Street Recordings. When the band reformed in 2001 with the addition of James Valentine, it became Maroon 5.

Recorded at Rumbo Recorders, Cam An Recorders and The Hook in Los Angeles and produced by Matt Wallace, Songs About Jane serves the perfect blend of the funk rock, blue-eyed soul and pop rock sound that first launched Maroon 5 into the mainstream.

The first half of the album comes out swinging at listeners with its debut single “Harder to Breathe.” The track relentlessly pounds listeners with an angry funk-vibe, so listeners are sure to get hooked the first time they listen to it. The second song, “This Love,” backs up from the angry vibe of “Harder to Breathe,” but still hooks listeners on the first try with its unbreakable piano and guitar beat that backs the sorrow-breakup drenched lyrics.

The third track “Shiver” runs right back to the angry funk-vibe from “Harder to Breathe.” This time, the lyrics test the listeners to make sure they still hate that one friend they can’t stand. The fourth track, “She Will Be Loved,” is easily identified as a blue-eyed soul induced song. Play this for a lover and there is no way she will reject you.

As for the rest of the album, all the tracks sway between funk, blue-eyed soul, or a mix of the two in order to create a very exciting and memorable album. Even the songs that have not been released as singles have their own unique charm.

Now that Maroon 5 has hit the highway of mainstream pop and EDM, it is unlikely that fans will see another album like this again; nevertheless, it is still a classic album.