It Won't Be Soon Before Long
Ah, the '80s. The days of big hair, bigger shoulder pads and parachute body suits. The decade that brought us Duran Duran, The Go-Go's and Oingo Boingo. Who would want to relive that?
Adam Levine and Maroon 5 would. And on their long-overdue sophomore album, they do.
It Won't Be Soon Before Long forsakes the contemporary pop-rock of their 2002 debut Songs About Jane, and sets the wayback machine for the era of synthetic dance-pop.
Granted, they're not the first to play this game. Everyone from The Killers to Justin has cashed in by paying homage to (or, depending on your view, shamelessly plagiarizing) the sounds of music's silliest decade.
Whether these L.A. pop-rockers will succeed as handily is anybody's guess. But it does make for a fairly enjoyable round of Name That '80s Act.
Let's play, shall we?
If I Never Saw Your Face Again 3:21
The slinky funk groove, disco sirens and synth stabs are nicked from Prince and The Time. The vocals and backups are mostly Jacko, with a dash of Hall and Oates. Still, it adds up to an irresistible opener. You win this round, Levine.
Makes Me Wonder 3:31
Some congas and string synths want to take us to Studio 54, but the rock-solid bassline and catchy chorus shanghai this tune and head straight for the top of the pop charts.
Little of Your Time 2:17
As a bump-and-grind groove speeds along like it's late for the bus, Levine works a bit of Aussie pop into the mix, with a vocal that splits the diff between Men at Work and Split Enz.
Wake Up Call 3:21
This one's a little heavier musically, with a four-on-the-floor piano-rock vibe a la Elton. Levine tries to get heavier emotionally, with lyrics about gunning down a romantic rival. Yeah, right.
Won't Go Home Without You 3:51
If you can listen to this without hearing Every Breath You Take, you're doing better than we are. Somewhere, we suspect Sting and his lawyer are listening very carefully.
Nothing Lasts Forever 3:07
Levine takes it down a notch with this dreamy little piece of soul-pop -- too bad this one also sounds like it's being played on fast-forward.
Can't Stop 2:32
The fuzzy new wave guitars finally come out to play on this tightly wound little dance-rock nugget. The reggae-rock bridge and vocals swiped from The Police break the spell, though.
Goodnight Goodnight 4:03
Another pseudo-ballad with glistening guitar arpeggios, swelling strings and a melancholy vocal from Adam.
Not Falling Apart 4:03
More tightly arpeggiated guitars that sound like Andy Summers. More vocals that sound like Colin Hay. A nice little pop number, but nothing you haven't already heard.
We swing back to Prince's Paisley Park for this sexed-up funk-rock workout. The James Brown horns and sultry Vanity 6 backup vocals are nice touches. Ditto the smokin' guitar solo.
Better That We Break 3:06
On any other disc, this lush, romantic piano-rock ballad would be the token last waltz. Here, it's just the opener for ...
Back at Your Door 3:46
An actual pop-rock waltz -- complete with sweeping strings and horns -- that begs the question: If we remember the '80s, why must we be doomed to repeat them?