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Maroon 5
It Won't Be Soon Before Long
A&M Records
www.maroon5.com


The members of Maroon 5 hit it big a few years back with their debut album Songs About Jane, propelling them into instant pop-rock fame with their upbeat sound, infectious hooks and occasionally borderline-pornographic lyrics. After winning a few awards, selling millions of copies of their debut and lead singer Adam Levine's collaboration with musical heavyweights such as Kanye West and Alicia Keys, one may begin to ponder what stardom has done to the band. That question is answered with the bands sophomore effort, It Won't Be Soon Before Long. After a dynamite set of incredibly successful singles rocked radio airwaves for the past three years, Adam and the boys went into the studio, expected to deliver the catchy, clever and tongue-curling sound that made them big with songs like "This Love" and "Harder to Breathe". Do they do it? Kind of.

While the track titles aren't eye-catching or that easily-differentiated, the songs themselves are quite varied in their sound, ranging from the mellow "Nothing Lasts Forever" (which sounds custom made for the newest WB teen sitcom) to the blatantly raunchy "Kiwi" and "Can't Stop" that both boast the dirty perversion Mr. Levine's lyrics are sometimes known to feature (from the latter: "I just wrestle with you in my dreams and wake up making love to a pillow"). And even though "Won't Go Home Without" seems like both a musical and lyrical rip-off of the band's "She Will Be Loved" and "Goodnight Goodnight" is rather sluggish in its execution, last track "Back At Your Door" more than makes up for any shortcomings with Levine really letting his vocals shine (he has never sounded better) throughout the mid-tempo ballad.

The downfall of the album is something that seems to plague many artists' second disc: in an attempt to broaden their sound and expand as musicians, they lose a little of what made them big in the first place. In regards to Maroon 5, the skimpiness of really addictive hooks may leave music fans biting. Now, it's not to say that the album sounds disorganized; songs like the first single "Makes Me Wonder" and "Wake Up Call" are both wonderfully infectious and catapult the listener into a euphoric romp through flaring guitars and Levine's quick-witted lyrics. But as a whole, the album feels made for the fish already on the boat; not for those still waiting to be caught in the sea. Fans will devour these twelve songs and hunt down the special release bonus tracks across the World Wide Web. Those experiencing Maroon 5 for the first time, though, might be better seduced with the likes of Songs About Jane. Ignoring the argument of who the album will cater to, the band still has shown great progress in their practice and while It Won't Be Soon Before Long isn't destined to be the best pop-rock album of the summer, it still validates the band as an important and refreshing part of radio-ready America.

-Josh Page


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