The Fourth World
August 19, 1997
Reprise Records/ WMG
1. Soap Disco // 2. Future Kid // 3. Myself // 4. Oliver // 5. The Never Saga // 6. Loving the Small Time // 7. To Her, With Love // 8. Sleepy Windbreaker // 9. Pantry Queen // 10. My Ocean Blue // 11. Captain Splendid // 12. Buddy Two-Shoes
Kara’s Flowers, an L.A. based alternative rock band consisting of Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, Ryan Dusick and Adam Levine, released their debut album on Reprise Records, to the sounds of crickets in the summer of ’97. The only single off the album Soap Disco failed to make a splash on the charts and the guys gave up those silly rockstar dreams and went to college never to be heard from again.
Well that’s what should have happened, but in stead the foursome returned around the turn of the millenium with bringing guitar player James Valentine and the funk with them under the name Maroon 5, started to making hits doing catchy come on- and kiss off-numbers, and continue to be a thing to this day.
Maroon 5, once they became successful, maintained their success by moving (or mooOOooOOoo00ving) with the times, adjusting and incorporating trends into their formula, and therefor it is not surprising that The Fourth World sounds as though Adam and co. temporarely put away their Prince and Police records, took a time machine to 1997 and recorded a post-grunge record.
Off course Adam Levine has as about much in common with Kurt Kobain as Justin Bieber has with 2pac, and therefore it is commendable that Kara’s Flowers stays completely clear of Nirvana’s emo angst and alienation generation X-shtick and just writes pop-songs with a grunge-influence in stead.
The resulting album could serve as the score to a mediocre, late ’90s-to-early-naughties “search of self” young adult roadtrip-movie (Being that this album came into existence in ’97 it baffles me that a Kara’s Flowers roadtrip-movie wasn’t commissioned. That would not only have helped The Forth World move some units, but that would also have gotten the three band-members that aren’t Adam out of anonymity.)
I don’t know much about this particular genre of music, but as usual with Maroon 5 everything is, if nothing else, neatly done. These songs are catchy and inoffensive my ears. Making music that is both catchy and acceptable to people who aren’t fans of whatever particular genre they’re dabbling in at that particular moment in time has apparently always been Maroon 5’s forte (which conversely amost certainly means that purist fans of “real” grunge, garage rock, Brit-pop, power pop and other genres that are namechecked in other, better informed reviews of the Fourth World will probaby hate the everliving shit out of this album, for “watering down” their beloved music for “pop” audiences.)
Kara’s Flowers keeps things brief with eleven tracks, clocking under fourty minutes, which is also positive since nothing sticks out, and consistency tends to turn into dragging if stretched out too long.
The Fourth World should be taken for a spin by M5 fans, but not because it’s interesting to see the band form into what they eventually became . Their catchy songwriting and music, as well as Adam’s nasal falsetto are fully formed here already, all that’s missing are the funk/ soul influences, (Besides, the M5 boys aren’t that interesting to begin with, they make catchy pop-tunes, not progressive, avant-garde music) but rather because there is plenty to like here for fans of Adam’s distinctive singing and these songs are fairly catchy and fun which is all one can want from a Maroon 5 album.
If you find this album in the used bin for the price of some loose change you might as well take it with you.