Over Maroon 5
The key to Maroon 5's chart domination is an unvarying torrent of broadly palatable blue-eyed soul, but the band's story is ultimately one of chameleonic transformations. Members of the group first met at a private junior high in the L.A. 'burbs in the early '90s, where they formed a group called Kara's Flowers to emulate the grungy pop that then ruled the airwaves. Although they landed a major deal while most of the group was still in high school, by the late '90s the band was dropped. Two years later, singer Adam Levine and company surfaced on the other side of an immense musical awakening, ditching the barn-big guitars and chugging riffs for a style of RnB-infused pop marked by Levine's sassy falsetto. They got some snappy duds, adopted the Maroon 5 moniker, added guitar ringer James Valentine and hit pay dirt. Their 2002 debut, Songs About Jane, started slow, but eventually infected the Top 40 with one hit after the next, making the group a staple of the FM airwaves. Jane was followed by a pair of live recordings, but a proper sophomore release didn't come until 2007's blockbusting It Won't Be Soon Before Long.