12 Songs In Search of a Hook may be the most appropriate title for this sophomore effort. Maroon 5 rode to fame in 2004 on the rock-solid hooky line "This love has taken its toll on me" from their top 5 pop smash "This Love." There is nothing here that approaches the stickiness of that pop classic. Instead we're confronted with songs derivative of the work of other artists, way too much information about the personal life of singer Adam Levine, and nothing particularly memorable.
Too Much Information
Maroon 5's breakthrough debut album Songs About Jane was exactly that. It was a song cycle about singer Adam Levine's ex-girlfriend Jane. This time it's not necessarily all about Jane, but it is definitely all about Adam and probably more than all but the most obsessive fans really want to know. 5 of the songs here begin with the word "I" or "I'm." We're treated to such details as a woman leaving "juices dripping down" Adam's chin, Adam being tortured, Adam wondering why he ever cared, Adam being betrayed, etc. I'm not sure whether we're expected to be music fans or personal therapists.
All Imitation Isn't Flattering
Any Jamiroquai fan may call foul if they listen to "If I Never See Your Face Again" or "Makes Me Wonder," the album's hit single. Their hero Jay Kay has done that style in much more engaging fashion. Then there are the Police fans who can be excused for nearly expecting a verse of "Every Breath You Take" to follow the bass line on "Won't Go Home Without You." By the time Adam Levine shifts vocal inflection to ape Simply Red's mighty Mic Hucknall on "Better That We Break" the imitation is almost amusing. Adam Levine made sure he didn't leave out his participation on Kanye West's masterful "Heard 'Em Say" by building a new song around the "Nothing Lasts Forever" line.
Top Tracks on It Won't Be Soon Before Long
- Makes Me Wonder
- Nothing Lasts Forever
- Better That We Break
A Disappointing Return
It Won't Be Soon Before Long is a disappointing return for Maroon 5. It's beginning to look like the main material the band had to offer has already been played out on "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved." The lead single "Makes Me Wonder" has reached the top of the pop singles chart with very quick embrace from pop radio, but it's difficult to see what is offered here for a true follow up. If there is a truly creative beating heart in the band, it's not visible here.