Maroon 5 sure knows how to make an entrance. Or in this case, a re-entrance. More than two years after its last single appeared, the band has returned with an out-of-the-gate smash, “Makes Me Wonder,” which already broke a record for the biggest jump to No. 1 (64-1) in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. It introduces the group’s second album, “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” due this week via A&M/Octone.
The group segued into regular studio sessions in February 2006, choosing to work on material in three distinct parts. Starting out with Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, 50 Cent) and Mark “Spike” Stent (Gwen Stefani, Madonna), the band also turned to Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Third Eye Blind) for two of the album’s more rock-leaning tracks, and cut another two-and-a-half songs with Mike Endert (Anna Nalick, Gavin DeGraw).
The album covers covers a lot of stylistic ground, moving from the Latin rhythms and synth swirls of front-and-center opener “If I Never See Your Face” to the “Every Breath You Take”-styled balladry of “Won’t Go Home Without You.” Elsewhere, the soulful, uptempo piano-based groove of “Wake Up Call” conjures everything from Prince and Justin Timberlake to “Off the Wall”-era Michael Jackson, but still sounds fresh and assured.
Despite critical indifference, Maroon 5’s 2002 debut, “Songs About Jane,” was a multi-plantinum, multi-format sensation. “I understand why they don’t like us,” frontman Adam Levine says. “We’re very hard to like — we make accessible pop music, and girls like us. These elements do not make for critical success. But there are 50 critics and 80 billion people, so I don’t really care.”