"This Love" is a song by the American rock band Maroon 5. The song was written by frontman Adam Levine for their debut album Songs About Jane (2002). The track is built around a piano-led strut, which is immediately followed by synth percussion, a repeating guitar sound, and wry falsetto.
"This Love" was the second single off of Maroon 5's 2002 debut album Songs About Jane. In an interview with MTV News in August 2002, Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine revealed that he wrote the song the day his girlfriend moved away when they broke up. In another interview, Levine revealed that the song was written in the "most emotionally trying time" in his life. He also added, "I was in a relationship that was ending, but I was really excited on the other end because the band was about to go make the record and I was ecstatic to go in the studio. She was literally leaving town within days of me writing the lyrics to 'This Love,' so I was in prime emotional condition to write a song with that kind of conflict."
Music and lyrics
During development of "This Love", the band admitted that the song was influenced by musician Stevie Wonder. According to Johnny Loftus of Allmusic, the music featured in the song has "a slick channeling of vintage R&B rhythms into punchy pop dynamics". Loftus felt that the song features "Levine's wry falsetto around strutting, bottom-heavy piano and percussion both programmed and live; chirping backup vocals and washes of sunny synth and flute acted as counterweights". Loftus also noted that the band has a "sexual charge" with the lyrics, "I tried my best to feed her appetite / To keep her coming every night / So hard to keep her satisfied". The Boston Globe's Steve Morse described the single's sounds as "a rocking yet soulful tale about the breakup of a relationship". Meghan Bard of The Daily Campus adds that the song has "Stevie Wonder-esque vocals and a funky R&B beat".
In an interview with Rolling Stone, when asked about the lyrics "Keep her coming every night" and "Sinking my fingertips into every inch of you", Levine said: "Yep, that's sexual, all right. I was so sick of typical lyrics like 'Ooh, baby' and 'I love you' and all this vague shit. I thought the more explicit I got without being totally explicit was a nice approach. The little girls would enjoy them, and it would go right over my grandparents' heads. But it would hit my ex-girlfriend like a ton of bricks. It was perfect." He also comments on how MTV played an edited version of the song for the music video, with the word "coming" edited out of the line "keep her coming every night". Levine noted, "MTV has now edited the language. They won't let me say, 'Keep her coming every night', and they took the sinking out of 'sinking my fingertips'. It's like fucking communist China. It's totally bizarre."
The song received positive reception from critics. In the Rolling Stone review of the album, critic Christian Hoard wrote: "Adam Levine's urban-romantic swoonings work best when his band really gets up on the good foot, as on 'This Love', which uses piano and James Brown-like guitars to create a foundation on which Levine can obsess about beauty (including his own)." Jason Thompson of PopMatters noted that on the songs "This Love" and "Must Get Out", keyboardist Jesse Carmichael "manages to conjure up both the productions of Britney Spears and The New Radicals respectively". C. Spencer Beggs of The Observer wrote: "The second track, 'This Love', is sure follow. The two singles 'Harder to Breathe' and 'This Love' are the most poppy on the album, showing off Maroon 5's characteristic clean, crisp and upbeat sound." Sam Beresky of the Daily Lobo, who was less enthusiastic about the album, complimented the band on "This Love", in which he noted, "...'This Love', is a happier version of the first with a great backbeat reminiscent of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition'. It might make a foot tap, a head nod or even a booty shake if played at a loud volume."
In May 2004, musician John Mayer told Rolling Stone that he liked the band's album Songs About Jane. Mayer was also positive towards the song. "Once I heard 'This Love,' it was a light-fuse/stand-back kind of situation. It's one of those perfect songs you always hope to write." The single also strengthened Maroon 5's appeal, and helped position them as one of the year's break-out bands in 2004. It has since been remixed by Kanye West, titled "This Love (Kanye West remix)", in May 2004. The band released an EP entitled 1.22.03.Acoustic, which features "This Love", however, in an acoustic version. The song was featured in the video game Guitar Hero: On Tour in 2008.
Maroon 5 performed "This Love" live on Saturday Night Live (SNL) in February 2004. The band won the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist for the music video of "This Love" in 2004. Also in 2004, the song was nominated for Choice Rock Track at the Teen Choice Awards. In the Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, "This Love" was the third played song of 2004, having 438,589 total plays. At the 48th Grammy Awards, the song won a Grammy Award in the category for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The single was officially released to radio in North America in January 2004, although the music video was released six months later. "This Love" appeared on the Billboard Hot 100, less than a month before its physical release, and debuted at number five. The track's Junior Vasquez Mixes remix topped the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. It also appeared in the Hot Dance Airplay chart at number eighteen. "This Love" also reached number two on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream. It also reached the top spot on Billboard's Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks at the one spot, it stayed there for 10 weeks. In 2007, the song re-entered the chart at the number 36 position on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs. According to the Nielsen SoundScan, "This Love" has sold over 835,000 digital copies.
"This Love" reached the top ten in twelve countries. In the United Kingdom, it reached the number three spot in the UK Singles Chart on May 1, 2004. It entered the top ten in France, Belgium, and Australia. The single reached the top five in Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, and New Zealand, Elsewhere, "This Love" appeared on the Italy, Swiss, Germany, and Ireland music charts.
The music video for "This Love" was directed by Sophie Muller. The video combines performance footage from the band in a courtyard in a Mexican soundstage and scenes of Adam Levine parting ways with a woman. According to Levine, the concept behind the music video was based on Prince. "An overt sexuality confuses people, too. That video was a very 'pop star' thing to do."
The music video for "This Love" also features Levine and his then-girlfriend, model Kelly McKee, in a few intimate scenes. The video used creative camera angles, thereby avoiding possible FCC action. A version of the video where a stream of computer-generated flowers cover up more was created for more conservative markets. When asked about the video, Levine said: "It was surprisingly not weird and surprisingly not sexual. It was totally comfortable. I didn't get horny or anything, which was weird since I shot it with my girlfriend."
The video was controversial enough to cause critics to comment on it. Sylvia Patterson of The Daily Telegraph described the video as a "porno-pop video". Bass player Michael Madden, asked to comment on the controversy, said that it was "an absurd over-reaction".