CD Review of It Won’t Be Soon Before Long by Maroon 5

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It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
starstarstarstarhalf star Label: A&M/Octone
Released: 2007
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The ultimate compliment in music is when a band’s signature sound and style spawns a whole generation of copycats. Green Day did that, and so did Maroon 5 after its debut, Songs About Jane, went on to sell over nine million copies. All of a sudden, baby bands were filling local clubs with their own version of funky pop/rock. But no one can deny Maroon 5 is an original, and the band’s second album, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, is well worth the five-year wait between full-length releases.

This album is like an extension of Songs About Jane, but even more polished considering the band toured non-stop for three years, and they have begun to mesh like a well-oiled machine. And who besides Adam Levine, James Valentine and company can make dance floor rock as cool as this? That list is indeed short.

“If I Never See Your Face Again” is a foot-stomping, guitar-crunching track that kicks things off and sets the tone, and then the first single, “Makes Me Wonder,” shows one thing – that 2002 wasn’t all that long ago, because this tune could have found a home on the band’s debut just as easily. But then Maroon 5 shows they have matured too. “Little of Your Time” and “Wake Up Call” have spastic guitars and a Latin feel that few rock bands could pull off (maybe Matchbox Twenty, with whom Maroon 5 honed their chops touring back in the day), and they know how to successfully turn the volume down and let the songs sing, as on the last two tracks, “Better That We Break” and “Back at Your Door.” In fact, those may be the best last two tracks on any pop album, ever.

In between, there are a handful of tracks that sound a little too formulaic (such as “Not Falling Apart”), but you can’t fight formula too long when it sells records. And you have to give props to Maroon 5 for taking a few chances, yet still sticking to what made them an overnight sensation a few years back. Sophomore jinx? Not in Maroon 5’s world.

~Mike Farley