Confessions of a Maroon 5 fan
|Aidil Rusli loves rock 'n' roll, still believes in the words "indie" and "underground", and after all these years still sings in his band Couple myspace.com/couple. You can get in touch with Aidil by emailing: [email protected]|
JULY 14 ― I’m sure not many will believe me when I say that I love Maroon 5. Not in an ironic way, but like a true blue fan would. I have to admit that it didn’t start that way though.
Like any other guy out there who’s not so into mainstream hitmakers, especially good- looking male hitmakers, the fact that they were everywhere with songs that I considered to be quite average like “Harder To Breathe” and “This Love” made them quite easy to resist at first.
The fact that they were actually a different band before, playing a totally different kind of musical genre and garbed in totally different clothes also made me very sceptical at first, especially since I really loved their previous incarnation as a youthful power pop band called Kara’s Flowers.
Having not paid attention to them as Maroon 5 as they chalked up hit after hit with their debut album, it’s only after I finally saw their music video for “Harder To Breathe”, and made the connection between them and Kara’s Flowers after seeing what the band looked like, that I finally decided to give their debut CD a spin.
Even today, when I’m already a big fan, I still think that debut CD Songs About Jane, now out in a deluxe 10-year anniversary edition, is nothing too special or exciting. It’s an interesting experiment, trying to blend their already catchy brand of pop-rock with a little bit of soul and R ‘n’ B.
But with the exception of the very stellar “Sunday Morning”, the rest of the album’s curious blend sits uneasily with each other. One moment the guitar sounds just like Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, like in “Harder To Breathe”, but topped with white-boy soul vocals, the next they sound like a cheesy boy band in “She Will Be Loved”, that album is nothing but strange.
The moment I really did become a fan was when I heard their first single “Makes Me Wonder” from their next album It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. Most (no, actually ALL) guys I know would simply laugh that song off as “gay”, especially considering their stunningly sexy-pretty-boy video and even slicker image with this album, but this is where I think they totally found their own sound, and also the moment that I unashamedly fell in love with them again, only this time as Maroon 5. That whole blend of 80s George Michael-style pop and a bit of Prince’s soul and light funk just sounded brilliant musically to these ears.
When I bought the CD, and found myself stunned by many other songs in it like “If I Never See Your Face Again”, “Little Of Your Time” (which sounds like a way sexier and catchier Justin Timberlake song) and “Wake Up Call”, I realised that, contrary to what most other people think about them, this is actually a band that sounds like no other band out there.
If you can’t bring yourself to call them original (because they’re huge pop stars with a frankly ridiculously good-looking frontman who can’t seem to stop dating gorgeous women), at the very least you can’t deny that they have a unique sound.
It’s from this point onwards that I started shocking people at gigs by turning up wearing a Maroon 5 T-shirt. Most people just think it’s me being funny, and while it is pretty funny to see a guy wearing a Maroon 5 T-shirt, it’s purely out of being a fan that I do it, just like I do when I wear my Cheap Trick, Wondermints and The Get Up Kids T-shirts. And I have an Avril Lavigne T-shirt too, but that’s a story for another day, I guess.
My respect for them went up a notch further when “Moves Like Jagger” became a ubiquitous global juggernaut, and no matter how many times I hear it, I’m still left in awe at how brilliant it is. Not many bands out there actually dare to infuse bits of dance, soul and R ‘n’ B into their sound. And when they do, it’s usually the same old beat ― disco and punk-funk. You can very rarely sway and sashay to rock bands, but with Maroon 5 you definitely can.
And just last week they’ve come out with another winner of a new album, Overexposed. Frankly, it takes big balls to call your album that, especially when you know that there are a lot of people out there who do think just that of your band.
This time roping in Max Martin (who produced and wrote songs for Britney Spears and many other major acts of the boy band/teen pop era), they’re destined to be made fun of even more as they go all pop on us. But a great pop song will always be a great pop song, and this album’s got quite a few of those in it, starting off with the brilliant current hit “Payphone.”
Just brace yourself for more though, as I do think they’re set to be even more overexposed with this fantastic pop album. Even the bonus tracks, particularly “Wipe Your Eyes” are remarkable lessons in pop songwriting. Can’t wait to see them
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist