When Maroon 5 stepped onto the scene in 1994, originally under the alias Kara’s Flowers, no one could have predicted the decade-spanning success they would achieve. From a bumbling college band to one of the biggest groups of the 21st century, Maroon 5 have time and time again churned out pop hits to fit every era they’ve been a part of. With their ability to change their sound to adhere to certain trends and grow as not only a rock band, but a multi-faceted musical inspiration, it’s not hard to see how Maroon 5 have manned their throne for so many years.
With six albums under their belt (and three under Kara’s Flowers’), a headlined Super Bowl halftime show, 49 awards (including three Grammys), and just a few billion streams, Maroon 5 are undoubtedly one of the greatest bands of our generation. To celebrate their upcoming seventh album JORDI, we take a look back at the band’s journey and their outstanding discography.
Songs About Jane (2002)
The startling debut shut the door on Kara’s Flowers and introduced the world to Maroon 5, essentially the exact same band except Maroon 5 had the magic touch: the addition of guitarist James Valentine. Bringing his elements of blues and soul, Valentine helped to shape the new Maroon 5 sound; one that somehow seemed to stitch genres together like patchwork but actually make it work. While Songs About Jane was a sleeper hit at first, hit singles ‘Harder to Breathe’, ‘This Love,’ ‘She Will Be Loved’, ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘Must Get Out’ slowly creeped up the charts and eventually helped Maroon 5 become a household name. Since its release, the album eventually topped charts globally, went on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide, and is hailed as one of the band’s greatest feats.
It Won’t Be Soon Before Long (2007)
Having already established their place in the music scene, Maroon 5’s sophomore album took a bit of a turn and saw the band experiment with 80s pop elements and heavier percussion and guitars. Ditching the shy, school-boy personas they began with on Songs About Jane, the band bring self-confidence, sex appeal and dance power to their second album and only solidify their extraordinary talent. IWBSBL produced standout singles ‘Make Me Wonder’, which earned them their second Grammy, ‘Won’t Go Home Without You’, ‘Wake Up Call’ and ‘If I Never See Your Face Again’, which was later re-recorded to feature Rihanna; and sat in various spots in the top 10 of charts globally.
Hands All Over (2010)
Their official foray into curated pop, Maroon 5 were joined by veteran producer Robert Lange (most famous for the career he helped build for his former wife Shania Twain) to create a contemporary record with elements of rock, funk and even some R&B. With Lange’s 80s and 90s influences (AC/DC, Britney Spears, Shania Twain) and the rocker groove Maroon 5 were comfortably snuggling into, the album helped to open the band up to a whole new market. Hit ‘Moves Like Jagger’, which appeared on the re-released version of Hands All Over in 2011, became one of the biggest songs the band would ever make; and its saturated pop goodness only opened doors for the group to barricade through.
Stepping right on up to conquer the pop realm, Overexposed introduced essentially an entirely different Maroon 5 to the world. Saying goodbye to their indie rock days, the band let the success of ‘Moves Like Jagger’ guide them into new charting territory and the mainstream. With an electropop, EDM and reggae flair in the mix, the album was absolutely nothing like what we had heard from Maroon 5 before, and the new sound was so successful it cemented the band’s flagpole right at the top of the game. Singles ‘One More Night’, ‘Payphone’ with Wiz Khalifa, ‘Daylight’ and ‘Love Somebody’ all provided the same dancefloor feeling ‘Moves Like Jagger’ had and it became clear that this was where Maroon 5 truly belonged.
By the time album five rolled out, Maroon 5 had successfully mastered the art of pop music. Accumulating the skills from all their previous albums, V stood to be an absolute masterpiece and one that proved the band knew what the hell they were doing. It was like the group had undergone a facelift, their rugged garage band charm undergoing surgery and coming out with a fresher, sexier and rock star appeal. The songs were funkier, dancier and layered with booming beats and synths. Hit singles ‘Sugar’, ‘Maps’, and ‘Animals’ all performed exceptionally well, landing in the top 10 of charts globally and quickly becoming some of the band’s biggest tracks.
Red Pill Blues (2017)
The sixth album from the group proved to perfectly match the charts at the time, enlisting the help of popular artists (the most collabs on one album the band have ever done) to prove Maroon 5 were far from over. Continuing on from their V electro wave, Red Pill Blues was yet another homage to the world of pop, with dancefloor swings and massive R&B and hip-hop beats. Producing the massive singles ‘Girls Like You’, which was later remixed with Cardi B, ‘Cold’ with Future, ‘What Lovers Do’ with SZA, ‘Wait’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ with Kendrick Lamar, the album stands as a great example of how the band continues to grow.
Maroon 5’s seventh studio album JORDI is out June 11th.