Lead singers really enjoy the high life. They get all the credit when a band does well, and little of the blame if they flop. They get the biggest cut of the money and often the star power leads to other avenues like acting. It’s not rare for the lead singer to be in five bands at once, while the poor drummer sits with his sticks in his lap.
Adam Levine is the lead singer in today’s featured band, Maroon 5 (and, of course, he’s now an actor on the side). They technically formed in 2000, but the guys have known each other much longer than that. They even had a band called Kara’s Flowers prior to Maroon 5 but they never saw any success under that name. In typical lead singer fashion, Levine started as guitar player and singer—but the execs thought he’d be the star selling point. To do that, they brought in a guitar player to free Levine up to be the lead singer. The band did that, and the rest is history.
Songs About Jane was their first studio album, and was released in June of 2002. Initial reaction was fairly mixed and it seemed like the album was doomed to be a dud. Even with extensive touring with Matchbox 20 and Sugar Ray in 2003, the album never quite caught fire. It wasn’t until March of 2004 that the album charted, shortly after the release of ‘This Love’ as a single–something the label probably should have done years before. That track won them the Grammy for Best Pop Performance and the sales really started to take off. As of today, Songs About Jane has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and is their highest selling album by far.
In terms of style, these guys are a bit more diverse than you’d think. They’ve been labeled a pop band by most—and justifiably so. But when you dig into an album like this, it contains just a bit more substance. It’s got sort of a soul, funk type vibe to it…but it combines those feelings with the up-tempo stylings of pop music. There’s enough guitar on the album too that some might put it in the alt rock category (which I wouldn’t wholly agree with, but I get it).
I know this is a go-to album for a lot of people out there. It’s one of those rainy day, in a sad mood, but need-a-pick-me-up type of records. Lyrically it’s not Kurt Cobain or anything, but it has a tone to it if you really listen. No one will accuse Levine of being a generational story teller, but there’s a reason he’s been successful outside of Maroon 5, he sings with a charisma any pop leading man needs to have.
This album is a pleasant surprise to me. Perhaps Mr. Levine earned his right to star on The Voice by being one heck of a front man. The album had my toes tapping, and even singing along with a couple tracks I remembered. Well worth a hard-earned Lincoln.
Top 3 Tracks: