Songs About Jane was 2004′s album to be loved and shared and sung to ravenously. It was Maroon 5 before singer Adam Levine stamped his name after “ft.” on song after song. It was the thrill of “Harder To Breathe,” “She Will Be Loved” and the infectious “This Love.” It was a little known band blazing through the barrier between pop and alternative rock.
Songs About Jane established signature sounds for Maroon 5 that stuck with the group through the changes in pop and alternative music over the past decade. One of many traits to be admired is Maroon 5’s consistently expressive electric guitar, always swinging the most memorable melodies in tandem with strong piano trails. But the rest is left to the now-iconic sound of singer Adam Levine’s voice, ever high-reaching but always on point.
There’s no forgetting the mid-tempo beauty that was “She Will Be Loved,” where Levine’s vocals directed the rainy-day song in hopeful direction as they floated from low to high and pierced the spectrum at just the right pitch.
But for some it was the words that sent it all home.
In the bridge of “She Will Be Loved,” songwriters Levine and guitarist James Valentine penned the words “it’s not always rainbows and butterflies/It’s compromise, it moves us along, yeah/My heart is full and my door’s always open/You come anytime you want” and eventually “Look for the girl with the broken smile/Ask her if she wants to stay awhile/And she will be loved.” Now cliché, then unsurpassed, perhaps classic sometime in the future.
Songs About Jane also featured the troubled love anthem “This Love,” barreling in with jumpy hollow guitar and fighting itself through lyrics and up-and-down rhythms and vocal ranges. Exhausting as it may be, it plays out the rollercoaster in an internal debate. It was as exhilirating as the jazzy love song “Sunday Morning” is calming, capturing the inviting energy of a weekend’s comfortable rise.
The heart bearing ode to a single love interest, continues working as a story: from total infatuation and impenetrable lust to bitter disagreement to acceptable departure from the relationship. Like a romantic comedy, Songs About Jane threw scenes around playfully meanwhile staying connected to the screenplay of a young boy-girl infatuation eventually finding its cinematic endpoint- the cinematic ending, the bittersweet, Songs About Jane’s closer “Sweetest Goodbye.”
“With a tear in my eye, I’ll never leave you behind/I know you’ll understand” but then, roughly “pushing forward and arching back/bring me closer to heart attack.” Replaced now by club anthem beats and Wiz Khalifa cameos, the alternative band jams with three of its five original members in a direction that might eventually serve a non-returnable future. Maroon 5 may never succeed in topping the artistic achievement that was contained in the band’s debut album, oh, but they can try. Don’t fret. If they fail, give the album a spin and travel back to the classic days of the alt-pop crossover as a wave of nostalgia slides down your spine.
Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane tracklist:
- “Harder to Breathe”
- “This Love”
- “She Will Be Loved”
- “The Sun”
- “Must Get Out”
- “Sunday Morning”
- “Through with You”
- “Not Coming Home”
- “Sweetest Goodbye”