brent johnson digs up another lost treasure, this week from Kara’s Flowers …
Kara’s Flowers never had a hit single. Nor have the Los Angeles rockers released a piece of music in more than a decade.
Well, technically they haven’t.
Theoretically, you can still hear them on the radio. They even occupy the No. 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 right now.
These days, they’re called Maroon 5, and they storm the charts with their brand of super-sleek, guitar-laced sex-pop.
But in the 1990s, Adam Levine & Co. were a much different band. As Kara’s Flowers, they played crunchy, catchy power-pop that wouldn’t be out of place on a Fountains Of Wayne album.
And yes, you haters of shiny Top 40 pop, they were actually pretty good.
Their only album — 1996’s The Fourth World — had a handful of solid songs: ‘Soap Disco,’ ‘My Ocean Blue’ and an infectious piece of paranoid rock called ‘Myself.’ If it weren’t for Levine’s high-pitched, nasally, white-Stevie Wonder vocals, you’d never guess these were the same musicians that bragged about moving like Jagger 16 years later.
But despite the proliferation of hooky guitar rock that populated the radio in the Clinton era, Kara’s Flowers never took off. And by 2002, a lot had changed. They swapped their name. They added a guitarist. They sprinkled their sound with a little funk and synth. And whereas Fourth World featured sugary love songs about a girl named Jane, Maroon 5’s music was clearly the aftermath: Their first release was an album filled with sleek but angry breakup tunes called Songs About Jane. Finally, they found fame.
Their music, though, was better years ago — when few knew them by any name.