Though he seems annoyingly aware of this fact, Maroon 5's lithe frontman, Adam Levine, is one of the prettiest pop-rockers to come along in eons. (Oh, how Jared Leto must covet Levine's milky complexion.) But with his brassy sass and brave forays into the upper registers of his voice on the band's criminally catchy tunes (check hit singlelive "Makes Me Wonder" for the most current proof), Levine is also one more thing: the third tier of the Holy Trinity of actually credible, new-school, blue-eyed soul singers, an unspoken place he has grabbed alongside the likes of Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke. The group's current album, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, is laden with instantly hummable tunes. It's difficult to tell whether it's intentional, but there's an undeniable bubblegum bounce; no one would be afraid to run into this band in a dark alley. Even when he's angry and spurned, as when he discovers his girl in flagrante delicto on "Wake Up Call," Levine still sounds pretty darn cuddly. Maroon 5 might not be ushering in the ultimate revolution, but there's still a groove worth catching and following in this safe music for dangerous times. -- Tamara Palmer
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