Sound — 8
The sound of this album is well a bit ridiculous. On songs like not coming home they hit all the right funk riffs, but they can also sound like some awkward white boys that listened to James Brown and started a band on Shiver. They can nail a power ballad like on the sun but they can also fail one like on Tangled. And they can sing ballads with real energy on She Will be Loved and Must Get Out but they can just seem wimpy on Sweetest Goodbye. They can even rock in Harder to Breathe. They hit their best sound by far on Sunday Morning which begins a ballad but evolves into a sexy show tune by the end. They need to refine their sound if they are to succeed and make it a bit less hit-and-miss.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics are the weakest part of the album by far. They live in a sort of heart-on-sleeve limbo between the mature poignancy of Lifehouse and the sheer ridiculousness of The Killers. Like Brandon Flowers of Killers the singer appears unable to move from his normal register of a girly falsetto. It can be honey sweet on She Will be Loved, slightly vintage on the hit This Love, and he can effectively belt on Sunday Morning. But he does need to expand his vocal register and sing about something besides women as on Harder to Breathe in which he rails against record companies. The best lyrics are on Sunday Morning again in which he tells of a one-night stand he is so determined to fine with real gusto and on the Sun in which they tackle teenage angst over a break-up in ways Fall Out Boy can only dream of.
Overall Impression — 9
All in all Maroon 5 needs to refine their sound if they are to be players in this pop world. I loved the lovey-dovey stuff and bands like that have a place in this world. But they need to make it less weepy as on Sweetest Goodbye and more angry as on Not Coming Home and Harder to Breathe. I must confess also I loved Sunday Morning and while the album wouldn't be on my top 10 albums, maybe in the top 50, Sunday Morning is fifth on best songs. Move towards that sound Maroon 5 and you will be one of the best bands around.