It's no secret that commercial radio is little more than a mind-numbingly repetitive series of about a half-dozen hit singles. Right now, it's Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life," Matchbox 20's "Push," and a few other songs by bubble-gum hitmakers like Hanson and Spice Girls. The next gratingly overplayed smash? It'll be "Soap Disco" by Kara's Flowers, a group of L.A. teens discovered by Green Day producer Rob Cavallo. Buzzy and catchy, with a hint of retro power-pop, the song is two minutes and forty seconds of hummably redundant, harmony-drenched, Tiger Beat goop. It's the sort of joyously delivered song that bores its way into your skull after only one listen, and it'll be huge. The rest of The Fourth World is dominated by similarly tuneful material, with any number of smashes to follow. ("Myself" and "Oliver" are decent bets for success well into the winter.) Amid the impossibly accessible froth are more than a few insufferably cutesy-poo lyrics ("Teddy Ruxpin is a whore," from "Future Kid"), and one disgustingly insipid ballad ("To Her, With Love"). But those are exceptions to a relatively inoffensive rule. The Fourth World will be rammed down your throat for months to come, but you could do—and have done—a lot worse.
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