Ahead of Maroon 5’s halftime performance at Super Bowl LIII, it’s worth reflecting on a time when the pop-rock outfit was actually worth listening to.
Originally released in 2002 (and then re-released a year later following radio success of their first single “Harder to Breath”), their debut Songs About Jane is the one Maroon 5 album I can recommend a full listen through. “Harder to Breath” followed by “This Love” is one of the best one-two pop punches you’ll hear on a record from this era. There is some definite filler on the 12-song project, but the strength of the singles, their sharp and blaring sound and Adam Levine’s biting vocals hold the album together.
The biggest difference between Maroon 5’s work then and now has to be the mixing. Levine must have his vocal cords insured for millions, because it’s the only thing the band has to show for itself since their debut. Simply compare the variety of guitar tones you hear on ‘Songs About Jane’ to the backing track on 2014’s “Sugar,” and you’ll hear what I mean. Partial credit for putting out a hooky pop song before the label execs gained complete control and starteded paring you with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.
In regards to their halftime show, I’m sure, like most Super Bowls performances, it will be FINE. Between their deep well of singles, support from Travis Scott and Big Boi, and (we can only pray) fulfilling the rumor circulating that they will cover “Sweet Victory” from Spongebob Squarepants. Let’s hope the machine gets this one right.