Spark's Album Reviews: "Songs About Jane" by Maroon 5

Spark_Of_Life Maroon 5’s 2002 debut album is still considered their bestby their fans. But what do I think of the songs on it?

“Harder to Breathe”
This was Maroon 5’s debut single, and I am honestly surprisedthat it sounds nothing like what they sound like now. This was as close as theyever got to rock, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s just that thissong has some flaws. I don’t like the creepy breathing noises in the backgroundduring the chorus. The whole thing is surprisingly mellow. Just when you thinkit’s going to jump into some big crescendo of blaring guitars and drums, itpulls back and reverts to its slower, subdued style. It just feels like this isthe buildup to a tribute to some 80’s but in the end, nothing really comes ofit. Great minimalistic guitar solo, though.

“This Love”
While ‘Harder to Breathe’ did peak at #18 on the USBillboard Hot 100, it was the #5 peaking ‘This Love’ that really brought theband out into the mainstream. And what an entry it was. With the heavy pianoriffs, the bright guitar licks, and Levine’s straight-but-caring delivery, thissong is quite the ride. If I had one complaint, it would be that the vocals geta little nasal in the later part of the verses, but other than that, this ispretty great.

Forget what I said earlier, this is as close as Maroon 5every got to rock. And I’m not a fan. Levine sounds angry, almost threatening.The weird way his voice is layered so a higher and lower pitch is playing thesame time he’s singing with his normal tone is weird and out of place. Theguitar solo in the middle sounds clunky, and there are weird breathing noisesthrough the whole thing. I’m not a fan of this. The violins were a nice touch,though.

“She Will Be Loved”
Ah, yes. The song considered to be the band’s Tour De Force.While I don’t necessarily agree with that, this is one damn good song. Levine’ssad, emotional vocals pair perfectly with the frankly depressing lyrics and thesubdued guitars and drums. What else is there to say? This only peaked at #5but deserved so much better.

I was not expecting much when I started the song, and boywas I wrong. This is a slick, stylish masterpiece, with caterwauling guitarsand the insistent drums work well with Levine’s cold, almost emotionless delivery.The lyrics, while a little cliché, aren’t a problem here. This is what ‘Harderto Breathe’ should have been.

“The Sun”
This is a bluesy masterpiece that just sounds like a hotday. The far-out guitars and the church organs work together perfectly. Levine’svoice is a little nasal, but that’s not a problem here because he’s rightfullypissed off that his girlfriend doesn’t want to break up. On other small problemI have is the rhyming section in the middle where they try to rhyme three wordsin a row that end with “r”. Other than that, this is amazing.

“Must Get Out”
Except for “She Will Be Loved”, sad songs have never beenthe band’s strong suits, and this proves it. The thumping drums and surprisinglywild guitars don’t match Levine’s almost whiny delivery. The lyrics don’t makethat much sense and there’s an air of desperation around the whole thing. Thisreally isn’t that good.

“Sunday Morning”
Spoiler alert: this is the best song on the album. Levine’semotional, yet joyful delivery works perfectly. The guitars and drumscompliment each other, as well as the surprisingly well-done jazz solo in themiddle. The lyrics are almost poetic, and this actually feels like SundayMorning: relaxed and laid-back.

This one is a mixed bag. The guitars and the one beatingpiano note sound slick and stylish, but Levine sounds almost threatening herewith his dark delivery. The 1 ½ minute long intro of guitars and synths isn’t necessaryand adds nothing to the piece. The lyrics sound almost creepy, to be honest.Meh.

“Through With You”
Levine’s vocals are passable, but lack the pissed-off edgethis song needed. The guitars are surprisingly clunky and the riffs soundweird. The piano is good, and the lyrics are good as well. Nothing about thisreally stands out that much.

“Not Coming Home”
I got bored with this one halfway through. Levine’s voice istoo whispery, the guitars are overbearing, and the whole thing starts withsounds of a crowd cheering, for some reason. This sounds like it was written bysomeone who thinks his ex cares that he left when they actually don’t. Prettybad.

“Sweetest Goodbye”
For a romantic comedy, this one is surprisingly full ofenergy. The guitars are great, Levine’s vocals are great, and church organs andviolins were a nice touch. If I had one complaint, I would say it drags alittle bit towards the end.

Best Songs: “She Will Be Loved", "The Sun", "Tangled", "Sunday Morning"
Worst Songs: "Harder to Breathe", "Shiver", "Must Get Out", "Not Coming Home"

FINAL GRADE: 78/120 (D)

Maroon 5’s debut album started out strong,but towards the end it kind of fell apart into rushed songs that aren’t thatgood. Too bad, too, cause if they would have been tweaked a little more, theywould have been amazing. Oh, well. You can’t win them all.


If I'm being honest, while I've started to like Maroon 5 a LOT less as my tastes have evolved, this is for me a 10/10 classic. - WonkeyDude98

Also, I love Shiver and Harder To Breathe. The former kinda reminds me of What Kind Of Man by Florence + The Machine, except reversed. Harder To Breathe is so intense and fun. - WonkeyDude98