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‘Maroon 5’ 2004/11/04

Posted by Dave in Music, Reviews.
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One of the gifts I got for Ruth's birthday was the 'Maroon 5' album 'Songs about Jane'… unfortunately for her, I've been listening to it rather a lot; it's actually rather good (I'd no idea who they were or what their songs were like beforehand).

There are a couple of songs that are very similar in key, tempo and melody, and therefore are separated by other tracks.  They keys are interesting — suggesting that the songs have been written on a keyboard.  C major (and the associated A minor) is the singer's key, and he has doesn't stray far (limited range?) — see the track list below. Having said that, he has a naturally vary high voice, so his falsetto is difficult to detect at times! The harmonies on the first track ('Harder to Breathe') have to be heard to be believed — soooo high! It is humanly impossible to get that high — even for a Bee Gee! One suspects some recording studio trickery!

I fell in love with the drumming on track 5 ('Tangled') — which has got to be the most complicated rhythm of any pop song I've ever heard! Respect!

The last track "Sweetest Goodbye" is a wonderful song that grows and grows on you with each listen. The wonderful track 4 ('She will be loved') and definitive track 2 ("This Love") were obvious singles (I found out about this today!)…. this band just have to clean up at the awards and at the charts; it's all there: simple production values, relying instead on musicality for variety.

Lots of changes of pace — good shifts in tempo, nice twists in the lyrics ( a nice way with words), excellent dynamics that make the whole album listenable right through — and not a bad song to skip.

The tight band supports a great vocal with appropriate harmonies and great melody lines — in fact great bass lines, guitar lines, keyboards and drumming too! Not a single extraneous note, everything required where and when it has to be. Sublime for a pop record!

What does it sound like?

Well, it sounds fresh — it's not that it "sounds like" anything directly, but I can hear things that make me recall quite a few artists — Michael Jackson, the Jackson Five, and Sting, (mainly), but also Bros, Prince, Supertramp, even 10CC (in touches).

Don't let that put you off, for it's only images of their sounds, sometimes fleeting at that!

Maybe it's me… I got slagged off by Ruth for saying her 'Keane' Album just sounded to me like the Norwegian group 'A-ha'!

I clearly cannot help compare, but that's not to steal 'Maroon 5's' thunder — they sound like 'Maroon 5' more than anything else, and these days who can say they are completely free from the influences of the past — however unintentional?

I reserve judgement on their future for two reasons (a) most bands these days are one-hit wonders, however good their stuff may be — they are a product for the record companies — look at 'Republica' etc. (b) debut albums usually have years behind them — tunes and songs honed at leisure, polished through live gigs, edited and refined outwith the glare of fame…

A good second album often simply means the band had more songs that they just couldn't put on their debut, but eventually the catalogue of such material runs out — then they have to write NEW stuff within a time period, and probably while touring and marketing their product — appearing on Saturday morning TV — or else they are "trying to break America" for years, losing them impetus back here.

So who knows about 'Maroon 5' — maybe this is it? Who knows? I for one would go see them live, and I will be looking out for their second album should it arrive on the shelves — but all in the hope that it will be better or at the very least just-as-good as 'Songs about Jane'

.Songs About Jane
'Songs About Jane', 2004, Octone Records:

01 – Harder To Breathe [C#m];
02 – This Love [Cm];
03 – Shiver [Em];
04 – She Will Be Loved [Cm];
05 – Tangled [Am];
06 – The Sun [Am];
07 – Must Get Out [G];
08 – Sunday Morning [C];
09 – Secret [Am];
10 – Through With You [Bbm];
11 – Not Coming Home [C#m];
12 – Sweetest Goodbye [Ebm].

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Comments»

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