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Record Rating: ****

Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane - Sony & BMG The boys of Maroon 5 were stunned that they walked away with the Best New Artist prize at this yearís Grammy Awards because they were certain the much hyped Kayne West would bag that honour. They certainly have come a long way since their days in the Indie rock outfit Kara's Flowers. After that band's demise in 1999, frontman Adam Levine surrounded himself with New York City's urban hip-hop culture and found a new musical calling.

Maroon 5 was born and their debut album, Songs About Jane, illustrates an impressive rebirth. Released way back in the summer of 2002, itís taken 3 years and a Grammy Award for it to break to a larger audience. The first single Harder To Breathe introduced the world to a tight band that blended R&B grooves with modern rock, and it just about made the Top 40. But it took the third single She Will Be Loved, a ballad about a current relationship with a troubled girl, to make the band go main stream. The song topped the Radio & Alternative Charts in the US and stayed at number one for 4 weeks and became a worldwide hit. The twelve tracks on the CD follow in a similar vein to She Will Be Loved, as the lyrics and music are adapted to speak from the heart about the tormented pain love can cause. Levine is obviously a huge Stevie Wonder fan. He isn't trying to be Stevie, but he gives it a good try anyway on most of the tracks here. And it works for a bit.

The best track on the album though would have to be the song Secret. The song has over a minute and a half introduction before the singing and feel good factor kicks in. A song about driving down a desert road in the middle of nowhere because youíre in love and donít know what to do about it, itís a place everyoneís been to at least once in their lives.

In time as they polish up their act and their playing and singing skills, they might make a really exceptional album. Songs About Jane is a good effort, but itís sure to be put aside as soon as the new Bruce Springsteen CD comes out next month. And if you were wondering about their name, the band wonít tell anybody what Maroon 5 means. Anybody that is, except for Billy Joel. He asked them. This is good for a couple of spins at the most, you wonít regret it.

Read our other reviews:

Ray Charles - Genius Loves Company       Daniel Bedingfield - Second First Impression       Jennifer Lopez - Rebirth       Joss Stone - Mind, Body & Soul      


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