Fifteen years later there is something about Maroon 5’s first album, Songs About Jane, that has lived on throughout pop music history. Despite a lot of sappy lyrics, Adam Levine’s voice and phenomenal rhythm comes off as being genuine. With many love/heartbreak albums of this nature, some artists will use the same mushy lyrics, but because the music isn’t that good, the overall concept doesn’t work. On Songs About Jane, Levine has such a sense of truthfulness to his voice that you know as a listener that he has experienced quite a bit of aching when it comes to relationships. The whole premise created a greater listening experience.
This album has been hailed by many as the blueprint for how to compose a modern-day pop album. In my opinion, it’s the guilty pleasure music for men who just can’t get enough of Levine and his bitter realistic lyricism on many of these tracks. On top of all of that, the countless number of hits on this project is endless, and many have definitely aged well.
The first track, “Harder to Breathe,” was not only an introduction to this album, it was the debut of the style that fans would expect for years to come. Listeners can feel the loneliness in Levine’s voice, and as a result, the emotion hits you like a brick. The same goes for probably one of the best songs about love and devotion in the 2000s with “This Love.” Again, while the lyrics are nothing groundbreaking, Levine is so likable and relatable through his dark songwriting that it doesn’t matter.
Lead guitarist James Valentine stood out tremendously for most of the first part of this album, as he really drives home Levine’s lyrics, especially with the punishing guitar solo on “Shiver.” On “She Will Be Loved,” Levine expresses he conflict going on in his head through his lyrics like, “it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, it’s compromise that moves us along.” The band sings about loving a girl even if nothing is going right at points throughout the relationship. Everything about this classic single is haunting and although it’s considered the climax for many people, the rest of the album is still amazingly effective.
On “Tangled,” Levine was confessing about certain things that he’s done in his love life that he may have regretted. “The Sun” sounds like a general heartbreak song that any pop singer could create, but for some reason like most of these tracks, Maroon 5 just sounds like they are telling more personal anecdotes than other bands. That’s why this album has stood the test of time for so many years. The whole idea is much more honest than anything else in the industry, especially now in modern-day pop music. A lot of solo artists are really pushing for that radio hit, while Levine makes hits unintentionally with his foggy songwriting.
In closing out the album, Levine uses tracks like “Secret” and “Through With You,” to show that he still has no clue how to interpret girls. The former song had Levine longing for having a romantic relationship with someone, while the latter had the interesting lead singer pissed at a girl. What a freaking rollercoaster.
It all lead up to the final song on the album, “Sweetest Goodbye.” In my opinion, this is the most emotional and heartbreaking of all the singles, because based off of the cadence is Levine’s voice, he seemed to have loved whatever girl he was talking about and because of that, he sounds a little less harsher to her. Valentine closes it out with a fantastic guitar solo to leave people wanting more of Maroon 5. Trust me, they’ve come a long way.
The honesty and and sincerity on this project is advertised throughout, and Levine and company wears their emotions on their sleeves. Unlike many pop artists who sometimes just try to make a sappy love song to make it on the radio, Maroon 5 actually delved deep into the complexity of love and how there is so many gray areas to it’s concept. Even though the album is titled, Songs About Jane, it doesn’t matter who the songs are for. Whoever Levine was speaking to here, the message was clear and it rang loudly. Through corny songwriting, Levine was able to create something that is both rhythmic and relatable.