Review Summary: "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" is the establishment of Maroon 5 as an institution in the pop world; a sophomore record that equals its breakout predecessor, and sometimes surpasses it.
Do you want rock? Do you want insane hooks? Do you want jaded lyrics? Do you want tight denim jeans, girls? Do you want to get laid, boys? If you said yes to any of those, then It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
is for you. If you didn’t say yes to any of those prepositions…what the hell is wrong with you dude, does it not work or something?
Maroon 5 are, simply, the best pop rock act around today. Incredibly accessible, with a pronounced dark edge, they mix a real alternative ethos with moments so catchy that even ABBA should be proud. their previous album, Songs About Jane
, was perfect pop record. It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
may not do much to expand upon that sound (besides adding lots of Prince), but I’ll be damned if they didn’t get to perfecting their style even more.
What made the last record work was all the venom Levine had for the supposed “Jane,” the woman every song on the album was based after. He expands away from “Jane” this time including multiple women! However, the dark and depressing overtures present in all the lyrics from Songs About Jane
are still present here, often with better results. The songs have more variation than just a “this was good, but you were still terrible” kinda vibe every song used to give off. The ballads all genuinely seem hopeful, the revenge songs all sound menacing. The lyrics can get a little…overdone, but in general they keep that same matchbox twenty-meets-70’s funk feel.
Which is still much the way the music feels. While the lyrics may have the gloomier tint still at times, the music has almost completely shifted from the alternative-drenched power pop they had previously, and is now a total rush of Prince, Police, and Melanie (yeah, that’s right, Melanie) sorted through a cheese grinder (more fine than a meat grinder), and mixed in with Maroon 5’s unique way of doing standard pop. Yeah, it’ll sound like James Blunt or Daniel Powter at times, but then a weird groove will kick in and you’ll remember that you aren’t that
The up-tempo songs truly do own the album, however. The ballads are good, solid pop songs; “Back At Your Door” sounds truly pained and reminiscent of better times, something anyone can relate to (unless you like As I Lay Dying, in which case, you’re way too hardcore for this and leave now). “Won’t Go Home Without It” is similar, with the light, sparse verses paired along with a loud, bombastic chorus, but Levine’s lyrics about heartbreak make it work once again.
Those faster songs though; they truly do kick ass. Second single “Little of Your Time” is the fastest song Maroon 5 have written, and of course they throw in a descending synth line (which is keyed from “Hey Ya!“), and is filled with sexual innuendos. Throw in the fact it lasts a little more than minute, and you have a great short pop song. Lead Single “Makes Me Wonder” sounds like it just popped out of an “Oceans Suckteen” casino-type movie, but then bursts in with lines like “Give me something to believe in, because I don’t believe in you anymore” and reassures people everywhere you don’t need big words to articulate yourself well.
The album is weighted towards its beginning, and the bad songs are truly horrific (check out the bonus song that will undoubtedly intensify the Darfur conflict, “Infatuation”). It also isn’t much different from Songs About Jane
, and is very much a traditional, common pop album. However, its a perfect contemporary, radio pop album; good, deceiving lyrics, occasional flashes of menace, tons of hooks (sometimes within hooks, nonetheless!), and a great beat/groove to dance to. These are all songs that you would have trouble getting out of your head, and It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
is the second coming and establishing factor of Maroon 5 as the pop band of the century thus far; and perhaps one that will actually be remembered for years to come.
Yes, I just called Maroon 5 timeless. Do something about it.