Nothing Maroon 5 does will ever match the originality and charisma of its first album, “Songs About Jane,” but its third album, “Hands All Over,” makes a noble attempt.
The opener is the poppy single “Misery.” It has a great hook, a catchy melody and an infectious groove, making it the perfect opener for an album of pure pop — it’s essentially the “This Love” of the album.
The second song on the album and next single, “Give A Little More,” showcases the band’s grittier sound and returns to the rock roots shown on its first single, “Harder to Breathe.” It brilliantly showcases Adam Levine’s signature falsetto — sounding more like Michael Jackson with every album — and buzzy guitar work by James Valentine.
It also includes one live and two acoustic tracks, including a live cover of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” and stripped-down versions of their songs “Misery” and “Never Gonna Leave This Bed.” The extra songs are a fantastic addition to the CD; in fact, the acoustic “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” is better than the original, with a bongo and guitar reflecting the soulful lyrics.
The beauty of the CD is that it features more songs than the average Maroon 5 album. The CD’s 18 tracks run the gamut from country collaborations with Lady Antebellum on “Out of Goodbyes” to Motown-tinged “Don’t Know Nothing.”
The problem with the album is that the format is nearly identical to the last two. The subject matter is recycled: meet girl, fall in love, break up, regret it. Every song on the album has an equivalent on “Songs About Jane,” in terms of subject matter and sound.
While the band can never make another “Songs About Jane,” they can take pride in the fact that “Hands All Over” is a solid pop album with some standout songs.