LOS ANGELES — As Maroon 5 struggled to finish what would eventually be their new single, the band decided to go on a songwriting trip somewhere without distractions. Like, you know, Las Vegas.
"It was actually great because we were distracted just enough that we didn't think about it too much, and then we wrote this part that wound up being the chorus," singer Adam Levine said of "Makes Me Wonder."
"It's weird," he continued. "I wrote a couple parts for it a long time ago and it was one of the first demos that we had made when we were on the road. And then we put it to bed and didn't really care about it, but it kept coming up because the label loved it. So it took a lot of work and I hated this song for a long time."
Of course, Levine loves the tune now and was elated to be shooting the video recently at the California Department of Transportation building and Los Angeles International Airport with director John Hillcoat (Muse, AFI).
"It's a fantasy airport," Levine said of the concept. "John had this amazing idea to turn an airport on its end and make it sort of bizarre and surreal and sexually charged and sleek and amazing and fashionable, which are things you never typically would associate with an airport."
"Makes Me Wonder" has nothing to do with flying, but it does combine two things not typically associated with each other — love and politics (see "Maroon 5 Back With 'Harder' Album After Adam Levine Gets Sick Of Partying").
"It started off as a song about one of my relationships that was going horribly wrong, and then we incorporated this line — 'Give me something to believe in/ Because I don't believe in you anymore' — which is the refrain of the chorus," Levine explained. "It kind of had something to do with our growing dissatisfaction with things and the confusion that was in the air — maybe not targeted at the Bush administration, but maybe dancing around that territory a little bit."
Like Maroon 5's Grammy-winning Songs About Jane, its follow-up, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, due May 22, features mostly relationship-gone-wrong jams.
"It isn't about one person, which obviously the first record was entirely, but this is still about love and relationships and the things that everyone goes through," Levine said. "You still have to write what you know, and what I still know is that I'm as confused about things as I always have been."
"I'm really impressed how Adam wrote for this record," keyboardist Jesse Carmichael added. "I listen to the lyrics and find myself crying. I mean, they're just really relevant to what anybody goes through in any kind of romantic situation in life."
It Won't Be Soon Before Long does have a few exceptions, including what will likely be the album's second single, "Wake Up Call."
"That's a pretty big departure for us," Levine said. "I think our first single is closer to what we were doing before, and 'Wake Up Call' is darker and also a song that is a total fantasy. I think it's most inspired, lyrically, by the Bob Dylan song 'Hurricane,' which was so isolated from who he was. He was just telling a story [about boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter], but that was really a narrative and I thought that was amazing. So if you took 'Hurricane' and put it in a blender with [R. Kelly's epic] 'Trapped in a Closet,' it's similar, but about a double murder."