Before Adam Levine and co. were seduced to the cesspool known as pop music, specifically attempts at bridging popular music, rock and elements of hip-hop(for whatever f****** reason), they actually had an immaculate sound in their debut album as Maroon 5, 2002’s Songs About Jane.
Prior to the Maroon 5 moniker that we all know them as today, they began with the name ‘Kara’s Flowers’ throughout the 1990s and even made some guest musical appearances on shows such as ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’. In 2001, they changed their name to what it is today and the rest is history. In 2002, the band released their debut project under the new moniker, a project that is a favorite of mine and one of the best records of the 2000s: Songs About Jane.
Songs About Jane is a perfect balance of alternative rock that mixes perfectly with jazz and neo-soul influences that culminates in an altogether pleasant listening experiences for fans of up-tempo and laidback sounds.
The record kicks off with an absolute alternative banger in “Harder to Breathe”. James Valentine’s guitar work is not just brilliant on up-beat songs like this one, but even when the sound is mellower on tracks such as “She Will Be Loved” and “Must Get Out”, it is wonderful to listen to.
Then, we get to “This Love”, which is arguably the group’s most recognized track in their discography. With elements of neo-soul sprinkled throughout the record, the track is sexy, sleek and has one of the most catchy hooks in the 21st century for alternative rock.
“She Will Be Loved” is the first of the mellow tracks on this record and the first of which we see a jazz influence on this record; the other being the immaculate track “Sunday Morning”, which with its beautiful piano work, is the perfect song to listen to on a Sunday troll or if you are just chilling in your bedroom.
My two favorites on this track: “The Sun” and “Must Get Out” are also two of the mellow tracks on this record that work perfectly and showed the band’s potential of being one that not only was an alternative rock band, but also make a solid jazz or funk-rock record. Even the smaller cuts on this record such as “Tangled” and “Shiver” have fantastic elements to them that guarantee that you can’t skip a single track on this album.
The elements of this album all come together on the closing track “Sweetest Goodbye” in which the tempo increases every second it gets closer to the hook. The verses being laidback with funk-rock and neo-soul elements and then crescendoing with that alternative rock sound on the hook.
Unfortuantely, Maroon 5 would never return to a form as good as this and jumped off a cliff of being a band competent of putting out, not just a good record, but even a good single. In my opinion, there last great single dates all the way back to 2007 with “Won’t Go Home Without You” that was on their 2nd album, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. The following records are unlistenable rubbish and are a total undermining of all the great work done on Songs About Jane.
Richest Tracks: “Harder To Breathe”, “This Love”, “Shiver”, “She Will Be Loved”, “Tangled”, “The Sun”, “Must Get Out”, “Sunday Morning”, “Sweetest Goodbye”
Worst Track: If I had to pick one…..”Through With You”?
Listen to the album: