Best of the B Sides: “The Sun”

Unpopular opinion: what in the world happened to Maroon 5?! Their newer work is fine, I take no major issue with it. It is decent pop. I find myself jamming out to “Animals” every time it comes on. But what in the world happened after Songs About Jane (2002)? Songs About Jane is one of my all time favorite albums — it is sincere rock, built from unique melodies and lyrics with a heavy reliance on jazz tones and a certain shock factor. Top hits “This Love” and “She Will Be Loved” run laps around later hits like “Moves Like Jagger” or “Animals.” I still enjoy the occasional new Maroon 5 song, but I’ve been in the they sold out camp for about ten years now.

That being said, Songs About Jane is beautiful. It is born from terrifically pure intention, and I know that a band’s first album tends to be their most vulnerable and therefore everything I say about it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but every track on Songs About Jane has some human handle for a listener to grab on to. This is relatable, touching, pure music. Everything from the delight of “Sunday Morning” to the deep lust of “Secret” is intensely human. One of my favorites from this album, however, is “The Sun.”

Funny thing about “The Sun;” it opens with the same drumbeat from “Sunday Morning,” just at a different tempo, adding an edge of continuity to this album. Musically, “The Sun” pulls together some delicious elements: jazz vocals, funk instrumentals, lush lyrics, pitch perfect harmonies, and one of the best bridges on the album. This is how I wish Maroon 5 had stayed, this salt of the earth, coffeehouse hero sound, one that’s not dictated by popularized sounds and styles. This is music.

Now let’s talk about that bridge at 2:05. Gorgeous harmonies, stunning lyrics, beautiful build, minimal backing instrumentals. It ties the entire song together. While the verses hold the bulk of the jazz tones and the chorus takes up a rock aesthetic, the bridge actually bridges the sections together, taking elements of each and twisting them to a subtle and stunning hybrid.

The final chorus is just plain fun, and the last minute is just plain funk. With Adam Levine‘s warbling improvisation at the end and the superb funk guitar, the pieces fall into place, closing off an excellent song with superb polish.

Songs About Jane is Maroon 5 to me. Everything else they’ve made is just background noise. You can actually hear how much the band is enjoying playing this music on the recording. The intention and heart of Songs About Jane are inescapable, running the gamut of emotions and yet working as one solid unit. It’s not trying to impress anyone, but it has managed to impress me for the past thirteen years.

1 Comment

  1. Lauren Silvestri

    January 25, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    I TOTALLY agree with you! When this album came out, Maroon 5 seemed like a fresh take on modern rock. Despite the growing tattoo collection of Adam Levine, their music has become increasingly pop, and not in a good way. I miss this Maroon 5.

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