|Photo by Frank Micelotta.|
These early Kara's Flowers songs that pre-date 1999 are most worthy of hearing
Before becoming one of today's hottest, best-selling, greatest pop bands in modern music, three-fourths of Maroon 5 as we know today were making grunge-inspired power pop songs whether if it was with world renowned rock producer Rob Cavallo or by themselves in their parents' homes in Los Angeles. Maroon 5 ideally began in 2001 with the creation of Songs About Jane coming out the following year to critical success and producing the hits "This Love" and "She Will Be Love" thereafter. The band toured endlessly for four years before further extending their ever-succeeding career. Prior to 2001 though, Maroon 5 were not so famously known for being Kara's Flowers, a four piece rock band consisting of a young Adam Levine, Michael Madden, Jesse Carmichael, and Ryan Dusick. Bass guitarist Mickey Madden and lead vocalist Adam Levine have both for the most part kept their stances in the band overtime while Ryan Dusick stayed in Maroon 5 for one album cycle until his departure in 2006 and Carmichael transferred from being the group's lead guitarist, to keyboardist in Maroon 5 and later becoming backing guitarist on tour. Kara's Flowers debuted in 1994 with their independent grunge-fringed full-length ...We Like Digging?, which to this day the band has almost entirely erased out of their heads. In 1997, the band continued creating music, this time taking on sounds similar to that of Weezer and Soundgarden, and releasing their commercial debut The Fourth World, on Reprise Records. It wasn't soon, however until the album was met with poor reception which ultimately lead to the band's fallout with Reprise and eventual break up. The group plunged forward with a last-chance staggering full-length, the aptly titled Stagg Street Recordings, which consists of songs that were never officially released due to their fallout with their label.
To celebrate the very early years of Maroon 5, here are 10 of the most bizarre, wicked, and amazing Kara's Flowers songs that you need to hear today.
"Not Falling Apart", from the album Stagg Street Recordings (1999)
Kara's Flowers took on the sounds of Hawaiian-inspired reggae and beach music with this familiarly titled track, "Not Falling Apart". The song is part of the unofficially released compilation album Stagg Street Recordings, which as noted above, was composed during a rough time between label swaps as an independent band. The band would later borrow the title of this short tune and use it for a song on Maroon 5's No. 1 second album, It Won't Be Soon Before Long (2007). Don't be confused or shocked when you realize the two do not sound alike whatsoever.
"Locked Up", from the playlist The Transition Era (2000)
Sooo, yeah, this is that song. Whether you know it as "Locked Up" or as "Pleasure Fucker", this particular song is definitely a stand-out when it comes to the pre-Maroon 5 era due to its vulgar lyricism. Apparently this song was part of an online playlist released by a party close to Kara's Flowers titled The Transition Era, which consists of a bunch of songs that would later become Maroon 5 b-sides or international releases, such as the song "My Heart Won't Be Your Ragdoll Anymore", later released as "Ragdoll" from Songs About Jane, "Chilly Winter" which was officially released in 2012 on the Songs About Jane 10 Year Anniversary Edition CD, among others. "Locked Up", however, never received an official release yet was leaked on the web in early-to-mid 2007 around the time It Won't Be Soon Before Long hit the shelves.
"Myself", from the album The Fourth World (1997)
One of the greats from Kara's Flowers commercial debut album, The Fourth World, "Myself" is masterful, memorable, and wonky as all hell. The song's verses are slow and starched until you hit the chorus which is almost a completely different song that explodes energetically. The song also has some mad bass parts as well as some amazing guitar riffs and an amazing solo from Levine during the bridge of the track.
"Simple Kind of Lovely", form the album Stagg Street Recordings
Another cut from the Stagg Street Recordings, Kara's Flowers offered this beautiful jam "Simple Kind of Lovely". The song was released internationally on a special edition of Maroon 5's Songs About Jane, however was recorded while the band was still in its Kara's Flowers stage. This song delivers some great storytelling and makes you feel some sort of nostalgia.
"Buddy Two Shoes Wilson", from the album The Fourth World B-Sides (1997)
Not long after Kara's Flowers' debut album The Fourth World was delivered with not-so-good reception, the group released a compilation of b-sides from the recording sessions for the album. One of those songs was the bonus track "Buddy Two Shoes Wilson", which is an odd one to say the least. But, I love it for its diversity and how the song goes from sounding like a 1950s bouncy rock and roll song to a full-fledged power pop rock out jam.
"The Never Saga", from the album The Fourth World (1997)
Sounding like something straight out of a 1990s sitcom, "The Never Saga" is a power pop sensation that bursts with explosive guitars and drums and never settles down. The song features an impressive orchestra as well, which was composed by the wonderful David Campbell.
"Stable", from the album ...We Like Digging? (1994)
They were just kids. Kids who loved Nirvana. "Stable" is one of the most insane and weird things to come out of the Kara's Flowers-era, specially because of Levine's gritty vocals and Carmichael's intense chugging. We Like Digging? is composed with all kinds of strange, featuring grimy vocals and sludgy bass riffs.
"The Fog", from the album Stagg Street Recordings (1999)
Once upon a time, the lead singer of Kara's Flowers was the producer's assistant for the television show Judging Amy. That lead singer got the show's producers to feature a Kara's Flowers track on an episode and that song was "The Fog". Good songwriting is heard here as Levine tells a bluesy tale of losing his mind over boredom and the chaos of being a teen.
"The Kid with the Velvet Eyes", from the album Stagg Street Recordings (1999)
"The Kid With Velvet Eyes" was Kara's Flowers' take on making a straight up psychedelic rock song, and it turned out awesome. Very bluesy and calm, the song takes you through a five-minute ride that will remind you of Pink Floyd's early material.
"Loving the Small Time", from the album The Fourth World (1997)
A pop punk version of Maroon 5? Hell yes! "Loving the Small Time" is arguably Kara's Flowers' most pop punk and fast-paced tune in their entire discography.
What's your favorite Kara's Flowers song? Let us know!
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