Maroon 5 has been releasing music since the early 2000s and has been actively involved in the creation of it since long before they were even going under the name Maroon 5. What has been the secret to their longevity and success, was it their songwriting?
Maroon 5 have written many of their songs themselves and were the sole writers on Songs About Jane, all the way through their next three albums. They are still involved in the writing process despite hiring co-writers.
Maroon 5 have found huge success walking the tightrope between rock and pop music, with the approachability and easy to digest nature of the music being one of the hallmarks of their sound. Their writing style has influenced that balance over the years.
Meet the Writers
Their debut release had Adam Levine, James Valentine, Jesse Carmichael, and Ryan Dusick billed as the writers on almost all of the tracks. This writing team was the format that was adhered to for the following albums also.
Adam Levine had just been traveling and working in New York, which had introduced him to new styles of music and new sounds, invigorating his passion for writing a new style of music.
He brought the fresh new style to his fellow bandmates and songwriters from Kara’s Flowers. It was a style they all clearly meshed well together on, as it would give birth to the new Maroon 5.
Back then, Maroon 5 was producing music that while still having that listenable pop vibe, kept significantly more of their alt-rock edge. That rougher, rawer sound that they possessed was largely in part due to the purpose of the songwriting coming from a different place.
Many of the songs on the album were written with Levine’s ex-girlfriend as the subject of the lyrics. In comparison with future albums, the lyrics were significantly more expressive and in some cases possessed a kind of story-telling quality, due to their being experiences unique to Levine.
Moves Like Jagger Moving Singles
Up until the release of 2011’s “Moves like Jagger”, the band had been largely resistant to the idea of using songs written by other songwriters, or involving anyone from outside of the band in the writing process.
After a long time of going back and forth about the idea, the band finally came to the decision to dive into the world of pop-style manufacturing. Although there was a degree of tentativeness about the prospects of doing so, the band was fairly excited about the potential.
It turned out to be a massive success, with “Moves Like Jagger” being their strongest release since Songs About Jane. Seeking to replicate the kind of new excitement and pop success they had experienced on the track, they opted to work together with the “Moves Like Jagger” writers on their new album.
Sticking with the theme of having some new blood in their writing process, the band would keep on a few of the writers they had newly worked with.
The two writers that were taken onboard the Maroon 5 writing team were Shellback, a well-known producer from Sweden, and Ammar Malik, a songwriter. They also took on board a fair number of extra writers, another sign that they were enjoying the new direction they had taken.
It was another huge commercial success for the band, the album Overexposed was released to hundreds of thousands of sales and an incredibly strong number 2 spot in the charts. It had been one of their most successful albums to date.
Despite the success, not everyone was happy with the new direction that they had chosen to take their sound in, even though the majority of the critical reception was positive, the band were happy and that was the most important thing.
Changing Writing Style
It can be hard for a band to remain relevant in the ever-changing landscape of music, with new styles and trends coming and going at a speed that can be too hard to keep up. Reinvention in particular can be difficult, with purists and old fans disagreeing with the new direction.
For Levine and Maroon 5 however, they definitely seem to feel that it was the right choice. Levine in particular regrets nothing about transitioning to having a team of writers, enjoying writing songs that can compete on the pop world stage, on any radio, anywhere in the world.