Although only ten years old when Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane came into the charts back in 2004, it was an album I instantly loved. Coming into the public eye in the same year as the likes of McFly’s debut Room on the Third Floor, and with notorious artists like Eamon and Frankee dominating the single charts with ‘F*** It (I Don’t Want You Back)’, Maroon 5 certainly had to stand out to grab some attention. But they very successfully filled a gaping hole, their pop-rock sound alongside their claimed R&B influences managed to get to Number One in the album charts in August that year – it also went six times platinum.
However, the quick entrance to fame was not all it seemed, as Songs About Jane had been knocking about for a year prior to its re-release in 2003, and had somehow slipped under the radar. Before Maroon 5, three of its members had been in a previous band called Kara’s Flowers, whom were quickly dropped by Reprise Records after their debut album in 1997 was something of a flop.
The albums leading single ‘Harder to Breathe’ peaked at Number 13 in the charts, exemplifying the bands strong lead guitar and Levine’s powerful vocals. Two of the better-known tracks from the album (and probably the ones the band should have used as their debut single) ‘This Love’ and ‘She Will Be Loved’ were the ones that launched the band into recognition. Both songs following the romantic theme that dominated the album, ‘This Love’ reached Number Three in the charts; with ‘She Will Be Loved’ peaking at Number Four. Both tracks were brilliantly catchy and are still loved to this day. Featuring lyrics such as ‘I don’t mind spending every day / out on your corner in the pouring rain / look for the girl with the broken smile’ no one could help but fall in love with Maroon 5, as well as the handsome Adam Levine.
Songs About Jane, as the title suggests was all written about one of Adam Levine’s ex-girlfriends, Jane, so the album’s use on rom-com soundtracks such as Love Actually was incredibly fitting. Considering the album is about previous heartbreak, it’s a very easy listen, with variation in pace and style.
The standout track for me on the album, however, was the slower paced, and rather soppy ‘Sunday Morning’. The song was definitely my favourite song on the album due to its blend of calm melody and thoughtful emotional lyrics. To this day Songs About Jane is my favourite and Maroon 5’s strongest album to date. Recently they have steered further and further down the pop road with chart topping songs like ‘Payphone’ (feat. Wiz Khalifa) and ‘Moves like Jagger’ (feat. Christina Aguilera) – setting records as one of the sixth best-selling digital singles of all time, these tracks also being their first in the Top Ten since 2007. Now writing more to make ‘hits’, Songs about Jane acts as a nice glimpse into what Maroon 5 are capable of when more stripped back – and less sales-focused.
Maroon 5 are currently in the process of releasing their fifth studio album V later this year, and have recently released new single ‘Maps’. Songs About Jane definitely set the band up for a long-term career, still chart-topping over a decade later.
Songs About Jane was released on Octone and J Records on 25th June 2002.