Maroon 5 has set a Sept. 21 release for its third album, "Hands All Over," and will preview some of the new tracks during a month-long summer tour that kicks off July 30 in Saratoga, N.Y.
Frontman Adam Levine tells Billboard.com that "Hands All Over" "kind of hearkens back to the spirit behind the first record (2002's quadruple platinum 'Songs About Jane') and is less like the second one (2007's double platinum 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long') -- or is a combination of both, the best elements of both all in one." The key ingredient, he says, was working with producer Mutt Lange (Def Leppard, AC/DC, Shania Twain, Nickelback), who reached out to Levine and company after he heard they'd started writing songs for their next album.
"I like to say he descended from the sky in a cloud of smoke and said, 'I want to produce this record,' 'cause that's kind of what happened," explains Levine, who credits the Lange-produced Def Leppard albums as some of his earliest musical inspirations. "He keeps to himself and doesn't necessarily come out of the woodwork unless he really wants to work on something. And he's an amazing guy. He thinks huge; he wants to reach everybody in every country. He doesn't want to dumb things down, but he wants to make things understandable and accessible.
"And we don't think about things like that. I just think about how I'm feeling at any particular moment or what I want to express musically. So I think he took this music and really magnified it bigger than it ever could have been before."
Levine says fans will hear that particularly in the title track, which the singer says is one of the hardest rocking tracks Maroon 5 has ever recorded. "Misery" is "the most Maroon 5-sounding song on the album," according to Levine, but other departures include the country-flavored "Out of Goodbyes," which features a guest appearance by Lady Antebellum, and the '60s pop-flavored "Stutter," which Levine says is "not like anything you've heard from us before."
Maroon 5 spent nearly five months off and on working with Lange in Switzerland, though the group had the bulk of the songwriting -- which it began during the tour for "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" -- done by the time it began recording. "It was a really long process," Levine says. "Some people can go in and bang out a record in a month, and that's a totally valid process. But for some reason I want to make sure no stone goes unturned and every single possible idea is brought to the foreground. That's just how we like to do things."
The final track list for "Hands All Over" is still being determined, but Levine says fans can expect to hear a generous sampling of the new songs during the tour, with Owl City, VV Brown, Guster, Kris Allen and Ryan Cumming slated as opening acts.
"We're going to pick a nice handful to plug into the set," says Levine, who will join Slash on Monday's "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" perform "Gotten," their collaboration from the guitarist's new solo album. "People are waiting for it, and it'll be really nice to have new material to play, 'cause God knows we're sick of playing the old stuff -- and it's going to revive the old stuff even more. We're just getting back to he roots of what we are, which is just a band. Somewhere along the line we turned into a very successful band, but we're definitely all about the idea now that we just like to go play music, so we're going to do that as much as possible, all over the place."