Live: Friday the 13th
While it might seem a bit early in the game for Maroon 5 to release a live album -- after all, they only have one full-length studio disc, the multi-platinum Songs About Jane, under their collective belt -- the band pepper this collection with enough surprises (sonic and otherwise) to make the idea seem altogether reasonable. The DVD/CD package, ostensibly recorded in 2005 on the legendarily unlucky date indicated in the title, finds the quintet hitting on all cylinders, not only on their hit ballads but also on a passel of harder-charging tracks, such as the funky "Tangled." Soaring versions of songs like "She Will Be Loved" and "This Love" prove that frontman Adam Levine is no mere studio creation: He has plenty of vocal range, to be sure, but more important, he invests the songs with a palpable emotion, from the urgent pleading of "Harder to Breathe" to the melancholic sweetness of the previously unreleased "Wasted Years." The set's other left-field selection is a cover of Oasis's "Hello," which takes on a breezier, more groove-oriented tone, thanks to a cleverly reworked bottom end. The audio component is echoed on the set's DVD, which appends a number of extras, including a "making of" documentary, a nicely assembled photo gallery, and scads of behind-the-scenes footage. Title aside, it's safe to consider Live: Friday the 13th an audio-visual good luck charm.