Category Archives: 2007

Maroon 5 – The B-Side Collection

Maroon 5
The B-Side Collection
December 18, 2007
A&M OcotoneUMG
060/100
Maroon 5 - The B-Side Collection
1. Story // 2. Miss You Love You // 3. Until You’re Over Me // 4. Losing My Mind // 5. The Way I Was // 6. Figure It Out // 7. Figure It Out // 8. Infatuation

That title isn’t quite accurate. Only three songs featured on this EP (StoryMiss You Love YouThe Way I Was) were actual B-sides of M5 singles. The rest of the songs were left on the cutting room floor from the IWBSBL sessions. All of the songs were bonus tracks on the various international editions of that album, but for albums as start-to-finish listening experiences more is rarely better. And it was a good decision to keep the standard edition at only twelve songs long. After all, who’s got the patience to listen to a album that’s twenty tracks long? (Rappers of the world take note.)

So kudos to Maroon 5 and the people A&M Octone records for collecting these tracks and releasing them seperately from the album they were once slated to appear on rather than automatically putting them on the album.

The B-Sides Collection indicates that It Won’t Be Soon actually contains the best material the guys had in them during those recording sessions, because what we have here is a couple of tracks that’s on par with that album’s lesser cuts and some more songs that aren’t quite as good. The hooks on here, the sword by which a M5 song lives and dies, aren’t quite as catchy as one’s accustomed t from this quintet and the instrumentals aren’t quite as funky as they usually are. Nothing here outright sucks, but that’s not quite an endorsement, is it?

The Way I Was was once allegedly supposed to be the lead single of IWBSBL, but since it comes off as a fairly well done Coldplay knock-off Makes Me Wonder‘s more distinct groove was arguably the better choice.
Figure It Out sounds like N*E*R*D imitating Lenny Kravitz and you can take that how you will, it’s an alright enough song but nothing special.
Infatuation colours a rather vanilla MOR song with some distorted guitar playing and is a pleasantry as well.
Losing My Mind is hardly insane, but hey this is M5 we’re talking about. To grab the listener by the throat just isn’t what they’re all about.

The B-Sides Collection is pretty damn inessential. But for fans of It Won’t Be Soon Before Long there is plenty to like here. Unless they own they own the reissue, in which case they already have every “B-side” on here.

Best track
The Way I Was
Infatuation
Fugure It Out

Recommendations
If you liked It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, somehow you have never heard these tracks and are one of those people who doesn’t like the new direction M5 took with Overexposed you should buy this album (a physical copy doesn’t exist, you’ll have to buy this off iTunes), M5 haters will certainly not be convinced of the bands merits by this, casual fans needn’t really bother and people new to their sound are best to check out either of their previously released studio albums before checking this out.


Maroon 5 – It Won’t Be Soon Before Long

Maroon 5
It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
May 16, 2007
A&M OctoneUMG
075/100
Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long
1. If I Never See Your Face Again // 2. Makes Me Wonder // 3. Little Of Your Time // 4. Wake Up Call // 5. Won’t Go Home Without You // 6. Nothing Lasts Forever // 7. Can’t Stop // 8. Goodnight Goodnight // 9. Not Falling Apart // 10. Kiwi // 11. Better That We Break // 12. Back At Your Door

Five years separate the release of Maroon 5’s official studio debut album (technically sophomore) Songs About Jane and that of their official sophomore (technically third) studio album It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, which is an indicator of the crafmanship and perfectionism of what arguably was arguably the best white soul band since the Bee Gees, Wham!’s and Hall & Oats ’70s and ’80s heydays (I know M5 is still active  and popular, now more than ever, but since craftmanship and perfectionism seem to have been thrown under a bus in recording their ballsily titled fourth album Overexposed they are no longer considered the best, or even an actual band by this reviewer, which is why I used the past tense.)

Not that all those five years were uninterruptedly spent creating It Won’t Be Soon, Levine and company had been touring heavily to support Jane helping it’s chart resurrection in early 2004 when This Love became massive. I imagine the guys not even being sure that they would ever get to record another major label album until that miracle happened. (It would seem that they toured so hard that drummer Ryan Dusick busted his arm and needed a replacement in the form of Matt Flynn for the next album.)

Jane had been a massive sleeper hit, one of those rare occurrences where an album takes a couple of years on the shelves to start racking up the hit singles and selling actual copies, based on word of mouth (in this particular case John Mayer’s, apparently).

According to the band the new album wouldn’t be centred around one of Adam Levine’s crashed relationships, the way that Songs About Jane allegedly was, but around a myriad of them rather, which is to say to say that It Won’t Be Soon Before Long is about a little bit of Monica, a little bit of Erica, a little bit of Rita, a little bit of Tina, a little bit of Sandra, a little bit of Mary and Jessica and lord knows who the fuck else, rather than just plain ol’ Jane. This is noticeable in that the songs on here, from the opener If I Never See Your Face Again to the closer Figure It Out form a unbroken chain of catchy come on- and kiss off-grooves and ballads.

The MOR sound of Jane has been slightly altered to sound cleaner, crisper and groovier (Just compare Makes Me Wonder‘s synth-strut with This Love‘s piano-strut.) sacrificing warmth for danceability, and making Adam’s vocals sound even more aloof by default, a movement that would turn out to be linearly progressive over the course of their next two albums, and had sort of been from The Fourth World on even, if you think about it.

The hit singles are perfect pop.
If I Never See Your Face Again (the album version with just Adam on it, not the Rihanna-featuring atrocity that ended up on your radio and video channels) is the catchiest on-and-off relation song in existence, with its percolating bassline and Levine singing about the conflicting feelings one of these ladies and him give one another.
Makes Me Wonder is a ditto post-relationhip hangover jam, delivered to the listener in Adam’s trademark, methodical nasal yelp over a crunching synth-groove. (Dance away the heartbreak, y’all!)
On Won’t Go Home Without You the man manages to sound delicate and gentle over an instrumental that seems to liberally borrow from the Police. (Sting’s fingerprints are all over this album, Not Falling Apart also sounds like his handiwork mixed with a dash of Coldplay.)

The album tracks, while not quite as good as the singles, are pretty nifty too. Kiwi takes cues from R. Kelly with its borderline embarassing sexual metaphore “juices dripping down [Adam’s] chin” (unless it is in fact not a metaphore, and Adam is bragging about eating out a girl from New Zealand, wich is a much more hilarious explanation, to me it is anyway), Prince, via its funky guitar-hook and rocky guitar-solo.
Nothing Last Forever interpolates Adam’s own contribution to the hook of Kanye West’s 2005 single Heard ‘Em Say, and turns it into a featherlight M.O.R. blues-pop song, and while the Kanye song is far superior this version works well enough in its own right to warrant inclusion on It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.

The rest of the songs are pleasant enough not to skip over, with some big dramatic ballads, smooth rockers and more disco and ska providing something for everyone’s taste, and help making this one of those albums you can play in one go. With the standard version clocking just over fourty minutes there isn’t much fat on this album, which is definitely a good thing, since the deluxe versions that includes one to seven additional tracks, are a lot more difficult to get through and go to show what this album could’ve been like without restraint on the band’s, or the record label’s part.

As I may have given away already already It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, much like its predecessor doesn’t contain much in the way of originality. Most of the music on here is a pastiche of several different R&B and rock genres, such as disco, funk and ska. The movents that have been made are best described as refinement and updating, definitely not experimentation and so the conslusion of this review will read exactly the same as that of the review of Jane.

It Won’t Be Soon Before Long is pretty much completely free of experimentation, radiates with professionalism and could therefore be considered dull by those looking for innovation for innovation’s sake. Those simply content with well written, expertly performed songs about love, heartbreak and every day life need look no further than It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.

Best tracks
If I Never See Your Face Again
Makes Me Wonder
Won’t Go Home Without You
Nothing Lasts Forever
Kiwi

Recommendations
Pick this one up.