Breaking up and making up: Maroon 5's studio albums to date
Catchy and super-slick, the Hong Kong-bound band's five studio recordings reveal their growing sophistication
Songs About Jane (2002)
Their debut album showed Maroon 5 could produce catchy pop songs and revealed singer Adam Levine as a hot frontman, but its real success lay in the relatable lyrics about breaking up and making up, while Levine's beguiling voice added something a little dark and edgy. While the album wasn't an immediate hit, it went on to achieve great things. It was re-released in 2003 and by the end of the next year it had sold nearly 2.7 million copies and reached the US top 10. Harder to Breathe, which has a techno feel, is the standout song and was one of five on the album that went on to achieve success as singles.
It Won't Be Soon Before Long (2007)
It was five years after the hugely successful, slow-burn success of Songs About Jane that the second album was released and the band had clearly put in some hard graft to create a super slick pop-rock album. Difficult second album syndrome wasn't going to affect them. While the first album is filled with songs about one specific relationship - with Jane - and mostly about breaking up with her, the second is more upbeat and confident, the sound satisfyingly big. These are infectious tunes, especially Makes Me Wonder, which went steaming up the charts.
Hands All Over (2010)
The band spent two months in legendary producer Robert Lange's recording studio in Switzerland to make Hands All Over and the result is even more polished than the second release. There's plenty of love and heartache in the lyrics - this is what Maroon 5 does best. Levine's big influences - The Police, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson - are all there, but there's also a surprise country element (not the highlight). Long before this third album, Maroon 5 had staked out their position as rock-pop kings and by blending R&B and funk with Levine's special touch, they succeeded in creating a unique sound. Not bad for a mainstream pop band.
The title says it all - the band were getting a lot of attention. The 2011 release of the single Moves Like Jagger featuring Christina Aguilera had put them in the global spotlight and then Levine lapped up the attention in his regular gig as a judge on the US edition of The Voice. The band collaborated here with some of the biggest names in the business - Max Martin, Britney Spears' songwriter, and there's even a guest appearance by rapper Wiz Khalifa. Many critics claimed this was a mistake and they were going in the wrong direction, but the album went straight to No 2 in the UK and US album charts.
There are even more big names on this most recent, precision-crafted album. Rapper Benny Blanco, Swedish songwriter and producer Shellback, and American producer Ryan Tedder all got involved with V and it's so polished it shines. It's impossible not to notice that Levine is the absolute star of the show on this album, flaunting the sexy personality he cultivated on The Voice.