Where To Start With… Maroon 5
Just over 20 years ago, the members of Maroon 5 were in the process of jacking in their musical careers completely.
Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden and original drummer Ryan Dusick first came together as indie rockers Kara's Flowers in 1994, while they were still in high school. The band self-released an album called We Like Digging?, then signed to major label Reprise Records and released the album The Fourth World in 1997, an album made with Green Day producer Rob Cavallo that looked set to catapult them in the big time. Sadly it didn’t happen.
When the album tanked, the band splintered and returned to their studies, only to come back together in 2001 as Maroon 5 and boasting a clutch of catchy pop-rock songs that would quickly become debut LP Songs About Jane.
Since then the band have gone from strength to strength, selling more than 20 million records and 48 million singles worldwide and headlining arenas and festivals all over the world.
They return today with Red Pill Blues. This is the sixth album of their career and their first since 2014’s V, it’s also their first as a seven-piece with the addition of new multi-instrumentalist Sam Farrar in their line-up.
Including new single ‘What Lovers Do’, the album sees the band in the studio with likes of Diplo, Charlie Puth and John Ryan to create a collection that owes more to hip-hop and R’n’B than their previous efforts.
The band have recruited heavyweights guests for this LP, with A$AP Rocky, Julia Michaels, SZA and LunchMoney Lewis all featuring.
To celebrate the band’s return, we thought we’d have a dig through their back catalogue and present where to start with Maroon 5...
‘Harder To Breathe’
The opening salvo on the band’s debut album Songs About Jane is a rasping, driving slice of pop rock with a chorus that will stick in your head as if it’d been superglued there. It introduced everyone to the band’s ability to blend funky guitars with contemporary pop, something that would become their trademark.
Songs About Jane is split between angry, snarling tracks like ‘Harder To Breathe’ and slow, mournful tunes like ‘Sunday Morning’. They’re both excellent.
‘Makes Me Wonder’
The touring in support of Songs About Jane went on for such a long time that it was a full five years before they were able to deliver a follow-up. When the album, 2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, it wasn’t the LP many were expecting. It’s a slinky, funk-driven record that owed more to Prince and early Michael Jackson than anything else. This, the opener and lead-off single, sums that up perfectly…
‘Moves Like Jagger’
Maroon 5 have had plenty of hits, but it’s fair to say they’ll never get anything like this again. First released in the summer of 2011 as the final (yes, final!) single from 2010’s Hands All Over, the track went on to top the charts in 18 different countries and stayed in the UK chart for a full year! It wound up selling over 15 million copies, you’ve probably heard it, but it’s still catchy as hell!
2012’s Overexposed was the band’s most direct record, full of bouncy pop songs with big choruses. ‘Lucky Strike’ is the best of an excellent bunch.