Welcome to another edition of The Debut. This month is the debut album for Maroon 5 called ‘Songs About Jane’. Maroon 5’s debut album came out on June 25, 2002 and went as high as #6 on the Billboard charts. The album also has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide.
When the album came out, there wasn’t a lot of good pop music and there wasn’t a lot of uniqueness or original sounding music. Then along came Maroon 5. With Adam’s tenor vocals, a killer falsetto and that funked up rock sound, Maroon 5 offered up something different, unique and oh so memorable.
Who is in the band you ask? Well, it consisted of the following members:
- Adam Levine – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- James Valentine – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Jesse Carmichael – keyboards, backing vocals
- Mickey Madden – bass guitar
- Ryan Dusick – drums, percussion, backing vocals
The band was basically the same line-up as their prior band Kara’s Flowers. The only change is James Valentine was now on lead guitar. Kara’s Flowers had one album back in 1997, but the lack of success for them eventually led to the change and a quite successful change I would venture to say.
The album title, ‘Songs About Jane’, probably makes you think the album is all about someone named Jane. And you would be somewhat correct. Jane was an old girlfriend of Adam’s named Jane Herman. According to Adam via Rolling Stone Magazine, Jane was his muse for many years and then it ended. Adam also admitted to MTV News that there is a line in every song on the album that is about Jane.
“There’s at least one line in every song about her,” Levine said. “But it also just happens that Jane is such a common name, you know, like Jane Doe.”
I guess we can talk about the songs now. I will break it down into two sides (although I only have this on CD).
- Harder to Breathe
- This Love
- She Will Be Loved
- The Sun
The first single and opening track was “Harder to Breathe”. It is the only song on the album that is truly about Jane and their relationship. It is probably the most rock song on the album. You can here the funk influence in the sound and that funk sound will be throughout the album. An interesting note on the song, the album was completed as far as the band was concerned, but the label wanted more songs. Out of mass frustration with the label, Levine sat down and penned this track and that anger is felt in the song as it has the most punch of all the songs.
The second single and second track on the album was “This Love”. The song is about a breakup Adam had and the emotional impact from that breakup. He doesn’t say it is actually about Jane. The song definitely has a Stevie Wonder vibe to it. If you listen to the lyrics, it is a very sexual song and dirty song. Maybe that is why it was so popular.
“Shiver” is up next and is very funky song. It has nice little guitar riff at the opening and throughout. It is a midtempo song and Adam’s vocals sound great. James also has a nice guitar solo in the middle of the song. Guitar solos are certainly lacking in anything they do now. I wonder how James likes that. This song was also selected for my Maroon 5 Deep Dive Playlist.
The third single, “She Will Be Loved”, was as successful as the first two. It was a ballad and had softer tones than the first two songs. It shows the softer side of the band, but not sure the lyrics are any softer. The video was probably the shining moment of the song. The video is about a love triangle between Adam, his girlfriend and her mom. It is actually a great video and plays nicely with the song. However, the song is actually about a guy who loves this girl who is always dating other guys. It is his longing that she realize that he exists and they could be together. That sadness is felt in the song.
“Tangled” is another funky song. You can’t say enough about the rhythm section of this band. Both Mickey and Ryan kill it on every song. James’ guitar also has a very funked up sound and there is such a great groove throughout. It is not their best song, but it groovetastic enough for me to keep it playing frequently.
The last song for this side is “The Sun”. Another song with such a an awesome little groove and Adam’s phrasing of the lyrics is so smooth. I love the line “The sex she slipped into my coffee / The way she felt when she first saw me”. The sexuality of the music and the songs makes for some very sexy music.
- Must Get Out
- Sunday Morning
- Through With You
- Not Coming Home
- Sweetest Goodbye
The fifth and final single from the album was “Must Get Out”. It is known for its downtempo song and the very clever lyrics. James Valentine stated that the downtempo style was to emulate the Police and Andy Summers (from Ultimate Guitar Archive). The song is about the difficult times in a relationship. Although a single, there is no video I could find for it as the band was probably ready to move on to the next album.
The fourth single was “Sunday Morning”. This song has the keyboardist, Jesse Carmichael, highlighted with a nice piano playing throughout. Also, a horn section probably played through a synthesizer keyboard. It is fun, pleasant song and offers up a different vibe and feel to the band. I think I prefer the more funked out songs, but this one is great too.
“Secret” comes in with a thundering, dark tone to the song before an acoustic guitar strikes up and a piano chimes in. The full band joins with a very funky, slow grove. The overall feel is like they are trying to be keep a secret. Adam sounds smooth and soulful on the vocals. The song is about his desire to have a relationship and he is willing to keep it a secret if they get together. Not sure why I didn’t include this one in my Deep Dive Playlist as it is exceptional.
“Through With You” picks the tempo back up. With some killer guitar and more funky grooves you are immediately pulled into the song. The choppiness of the lyrical phrasing and Adam’s delivery is spot on. Definitely obvious why I picked this one on the Deep Dive Playlist.
The 3rd song I chose for my Deep Dive Playlist off this album was “Not Coming Home”. The song has a live feel to it with the crowd noise added. More funked grooves and beats. The song is actually a Kara’s Flower holdover song and I can see why they kept it. It is great song and another rocker on the album.
The final song on the album is “Sweetest Goodbye”. The song starts off a little slower, but picks up tempo. Of course it has the same funk vibe with the guitar, the bass and the drum sounds. It is probably my least favorite song on the album even though there is a good guitar solo on the song.
There you have the incredible debut album by Maroon 5, ‘Songs About Jane’. For me, this was their most rock album as nowadays they don’t have much guitar and they seem to have to have someone “featured’ on their songs. What is up with that crap!
I was getting off on a tangent there for a second. This debut was sensational to me. It’s timing was perfect as I was starving for something refreshing out of pop music radio and Maroon 5 delivered in spades. This will always be a classic album and one I will keep in my collection for a long time. Whatever you might currently think of Maroon 5 or even the over exposure of it’s lead singer Adam Levine, this album is shining example of music done right. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.
Thanks and have a great day.