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Maroon 5

It Won't Be Soon Before Long
A&M/Octone Records

What's worse than disco? How about bleak, breakup, stalker disco? Guess that might make it disc-emo. On Maroon 5's latest effort, the L.A.-meets-Brit-pop catchiness that made its predecessor, Songs About Jane, cough out hits like a Pez dispenser has been traded for post-Jamiroquai boogeying — though Maroon lacks both the lyrical gymnastics and the stupid hats needed to make it work. Rump-thumpers "Makes Me Wonder" and "If I Never See Your Face" are funky in a non-threatening, KC & the Sunshine Band sort of way, while "Won't Go Home Without You" lifts tones from the Police, right down to Sting's inflections. The chorus of "Nothing Lasts Forever" follows Janis Ian's "At 17" but paves it over with dreamy electric piano tinkling. The Marooned ones make feeble attempts to footnote their past work, but the mirrored ball of Damocles is hanging just a wicky-wicky guitar lick from their heads. Even so, like a cheating grandpa, this one has the rotten stench of another Grammy all over it.

 
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