Maroon 5, Songs About Jane

I don't know if it's good counseling advice to turn a prolonged breakup into an entire album, and some of its more emotional moments are probably more creepy than frontman Adam Levine intended (especially the otherwise pleasant "She Will Be Loved," with guys hanging out in the rain looking for girls with broken smiles), but regardless of where it came from, dwelling on his tragic muse probably wasn't a good choice musically. Lead-ins "Harder to Breathe" and "This Love" deserve their considerable airplay, and the U2-esque "Must Get Out" mercifully rescues a sagging middle, but the gas runs out in their tank awfully early: "Tangled"'s relatively unoriginal cadences are dull and the lyrics are the usual self-flagellating regret, "The Sun" is a snoozer (plus "seven miles from the sun" seems a fit metaphor for simply flaming out), and both "Secret" and "Through With You" come off as moody, inane and unfocused. Similarly, the stylistic shifts you see with new bands are sometimes more jarring than interesting, such as the otherwise competent "Sunday Morning," whose "all I need" chorus feels a little too R&B even against this album's anti-grittiness. "Sweetest Goodbye"'s slower tempo and meatier licks close the album well, but really only by echoing the beginning at three-quarters' speed. There isn't enough fun here to recommend it, and while its singles are solid alternative pop on their own they just don't support the rest of the album. I mean, really: wouldn't you expect a lot of low points from an album written about what was then his lowest point of all? (Content: no concerns.)