After wait, Maroon 5 fans will be satisfied

Calling Maroon 5's new record "long-awaited" is an understatement.

It's been five years since the California's band's lite-funk pop debut, "Songs About Jane," entranced both teenage girls and their mothers, leading to sales of more than 4 million copies and high-profile slots opening for the likes of the Rolling Stones.

Still, five years is a long time in popular music, where it's common practice to milk success for all it's worth as soon as possible.

So what took so long for the band to record its second album, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" (out this week on Octone)?

Just circumstance, the band says.

"People think we took a lot of time off, but ... we took about a month off when we got home," singer Adam Levine says during a recent conference call with reporters. "We were on the road for about — 1/2 years. And pretty immediately after we got home, we started working on the new record and the record took about a year to make."

Fans of the first record won't be disappointed. "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" is full of soothing hey-girl jams and glittery pop hooks. It's sleek and smooth and a sure-fire No. — smash.

It's nowhere near original, however.

Maroon 5 aims squarely at a mass audience with these 13 songs, charging down well-trod musical paths with unerring commercial instincts that make their songs incredibly easy to digest. The band reprises bits of the vanilla-Motown sound of "Songs About Jane" and delivers pale echoes of Justin Timberlake in the club-friendly rhythm of "Little of Your Time" and the breathless bump-and-grind of "Figure It Out."

Two songs feature mid-tempo guitar parts that sound ready to veer into "Every Breath You Take" by the Police &

"Won't Go Home Without You" even starts the same way, with a snare-drum hit &

and nearly every other song features some pop-music convention you've heard on Top-40 radio in the past three years.

"We wanted it to hit you a lot harder," Levine says. "We really kind of wanted to be an uninhibited album. We wanted it to be unrelenting."

And it is. But you've heard most of it before.

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