Throwback Thursday: “Songs About Jane” by Maroon 5

Admittedly, I didn’t think I’d ever write about Maroon 5. They’re not really my jam, as it were; I don’t always lean towards the softer end of the pop spectrum where they sit so comfortably. Yet Songs About Jane is such a modern classic of an album that it really is worth writing about.

It came out in 2002, which is actually a bit earlier than most of my Throwback Thursday posts. The song that most people probably know from the album is “She Will Be Loved.” The other singles are less well-known these days, even though they did chart at the time. For example, “This Love” could be considered a deep cut. And “Sunday Morning” is probably more familiar to most from the Love Actually soundtrack.

Songs About Jane is intriguing to me because it sounds less like Maroon 5 than Maroon 5 does now. It’s got a gentle, coffee house feel that’s woven through with an edge of funk. These days, Maroon 5 songs all tend to sound the same. They’ve got a nice drum machine with Adam Levine’s falsetto describing casual relationships. Disclaimer: sameness in a band isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Kudos to them for finding a formula that works. I have noticed, however, that a lot of their recent success seems to come from collaborations, such as the smash hit “Girls Like You,” which features Cardi B.

Of all the songs from Songs About Jane, “She Will Be Loved” is probably my favorite. It’s definitely been on rotation recently; like writing this post, that’s surprised me. It’s undeniably catchy in its smoothness, even though its beginning themes are often grating to me. That’s because the Nice Guy message it starts with isn’t great: “She had some trouble with herself/He was always there to help her/She always belonged to someone else.” I guess it’s just the idea of I helped you, so now you should belong to me. The rest of the song sits better with me, particularly the lyric “It’s not always rainbows and butterflies/It’s compromise that moves us along.” That statement is both simple and accurate.

I’ll post the full album below. Time for me to find a Starbucks and start writing my novel while it plays overhead.

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